…”I think this is a journey we can push to a significant distance”, he says
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday received a team of facilitators from the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards (IADLEST) who have been providing leadership training to Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officers, hinting that the next stage of training would focus on better crime scene management strategy.
The Governor, who spoke at the Lagos House, Ikeja added that this has become imperative as, often times, the evidences available to be relied on are lost because of the lack of training required for pushing and processing suspects through the justice system becomes difficult, in addition to the fact that law enforcement relies more on confession than evidence.
“We must change the game now in terms of evidence gathering, especially in an Information Technology age. What can cameras do, what can video clips do and so on. At crash scenes for example, how do you keep the evidence, have you managed the evidence in a way also that the suspect or the victim or whoever is involved can have his vehicle back and be able to produce it when it is needed without it becoming a nuisance to the community where it becomes an unsightly junk and so on”, he said.
The Governor who expressed delight at the visit of the team, which also comprised officials of Michigan State Police, said on a mutual interest basis the partnership already struck could become really defining “because the threat to peace and threat to the safety of life and property is becoming a trans boundary issue more than it was several years ago”.
He added: “It challenges us as policy makers and as heads of government about how and what we must do more of in order to discharge our primary duty which is the protection of life and property because the other indices of our political scorecard depend mainly on the success we have with the primary duty and you can only measure them by the quality of education for those who are alive, you can only measure the prosperity of people who are alive and not those who are dead and so on and so forth”.
Fashola also informed that he has monitored the training of the officers, and expressed delight that the reform that has been started was really to take them away from being casual workers to mainstream public service workers with a pensionable career and also to reward gallantry and selflessness even it also punishes unacceptable behaviours.
“I have followed the training programme, it is a root and branch reform really from training of the men and the personnel to a remake of the environment because that would have a large impact also on their disposition and on the way they perceive themselves and also their confidence. It is a work in progress; it is a journey we have started. We are encouraged by the results we have seen. We think this is a journey we can push to a significant distance and I am sure that your partnership would be very useful as we make the defining and decisive push to make progress”, the Governor said.
He said in terms of the results being recorded in attitudinal changes, it has been encouraging, stressing that the world over, law enforcement agents are people that everyone loves to hate as there is no difference in any part of the world. He added, “The law enforcement of any society is really the function of who the people really are”.
The Governor expressed the State Government’s delight to see the number of lives that have been saved and the number of accidents that have been reduced through a rigorous implementation, in one year, of a new traffic law that amended many of the previous legislation.
“In a year, the incidence of motorcycle accidents dropped from over 600 to a little over 100 and incidence of loss of lives by the same mode dropped from about 15 a month to one and in the last three months no life has been lost”.
“So, for us, those are important milestones as a result of the initiatives and what remains is the constant communication of the benefits, the constant reassurances that there would be no lost opportunities here but rather there would be gains”, he stressed.
Speaking earlier, the Executive director of the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards (IADLEST), Mr David Harvey, said though this is his first time in Lagos, he has already fallen in love with the city with its hospitality which he said is second to none.
He said IADLEST is a multi country and multinational association that began in the United States with the basic intention of standardizing training where similar agencies exists.
“Our policy is that policing is policing and people are people. Yesterday, we met some of your KAI, LASTMA, Neighbourhood Watch officials in a training session and many of the situations we talked about really covered the entire world and people- related issues and we shared various kinds of knowledge and commonalities that are prevalent in the same kind of training.
“That is why I told them yesterday that they are not different from us as we are not different from them and we can help you as you can help us by sharing information back and forth between our law enforcement communities. We can make ourselves better and be better served. I have seen some good things that have been done in Lagos as shown by the Chairman of the Task Force and that progress has been made. We have seen that it is very important that we work together. Technology has also made the world smaller. We offer ourselves to do all we can to provide you with training at your institute”, he explained.
Prominent among those who joined the Governor to receive the team from IADLEST are the, Commissioner for Transportation, Hon. Kayode Opeifa, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, Mrs Florence Oguntuashe, Head of Service, Mrs Seyi Williams and the Senior Special Assistant on Transport Education, Dr Mariam Masha while those who accompanied Mr Harvey included Training/Job Analysis consultant, Mr Val Lubans and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Research and Training specialist, Mr Steve Okaro.
HAKEEM BELLO, SPECIAL ADVISER TO H.E ON MEDIA