Egbetokun’s Media Misconception Of Reporting Police Misconduct On Social Media
By Adewole Kehinde
“Criticism is a misconception: we must read not to understand others but to understand ourselves”. – Emile M. Cioran
The Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, as part of his quality service delivery strategy, took a week-long tour of Oyo and Lagos states, respectively, aimed at addressing police personnel’s professionalism and encouraging community policing initiatives.
The Acting Inspector-General of Police on Tuesday in Ibadan urged Nigerians to stop taking complaints against police officers to social media.
“If you have any complaint against the police, don’t go to social media. Go to the commissioners of police in the state.
“Some of our men will misbehave; we cannot guarantee that all of them will behave well. Report it to the CPs or any superior officer who will take it up and ensure justice is done.
“There are a lot of falsehoods going on social media. If you need clarification, go to the Commissioners of Police or Police Public Relations Officers (PPROs),” he said.
But trust Nigerians on social media; they almost tore the IGP to pieces with various comments.
I will be quoting some of the comments here before I give clarification on the statement of the IGP.
@iam_Bonex says, “So does that means if I take it to social media and tag them with valid evidences they won’t act on it? You can’t force us to go back to Stone Age sir, social media should also be a medium to escalate issues and complaints to your office.”
@solypapy says, “I don’t think anyone will heed to this becos many have completely lost trust and faith in the Nigerian police.”
@EmekaNjidda says, “Story Story. If e no reach “shosho” media, una no go act.”
@MarianVictor18 says, “The social media is now the only hope for the common man. We speak up in various platforms so our voices could be held. We know trust una abeg.”
@AdeyemoGideon11 says, “How many citizens have access to DPO in the area talk less of the commissioner of police, they should work on gaining our trust again, they should reform them, pay them well and give them the needed training.”
@itsneme says, “Dear Mr Kayode, This is 2023 not 2003. We have gone pass this stage years ago. Wake up ⬆️ Best Regards.”
I initially kicked against IGP Egbetokun’s advice when I saw the headline, but after digesting the full statement, I had to agree with him 100%.
What the IGP meant was that there are more official channels to file complaints against police officers than social media. He is not ruling out social media citizens’ eyewitness reports.
Engaging with commissioners of police and superior officers ensures a more accurate and effective resolution process.
While there might be instances of misconduct, seeking redress through official channels allows for a fair and just handling of the issues at hand, minimizing the spread of misinformation and false narratives on social media platforms.
To further boost police-public relations, the IGP, during his visit to Lagos State Police Command on Wednesday, commissioned the Police Complaint Response Unit according to Section 131 of the Police Act 2020.
The establishment of the center is, for all intents and purposes, a fulfillment of statutory provisions that are intended to enhance police accountability and engender professional police service delivery rather than witch-hunt or unduly malign our dutiful officers.
The IGP is not against social media, as insinuated by social media users.
I recall that on July 9, 2023, the IGP took a tour of the state-of-the-art National Command and Control Centre facility and the Nigeria Police Crime and Incidence Database Centre at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, where he called on police officers and Nigerians to embrace the “Rescue Me mobile application” as well as other technology by the force.
Also on July 25, 2023, IGP Kayode Egbetokun unveiled the Police-VGS Quick Emergency Reporting and Response System (QERRS), a smart policing initiative that is aimed at revolutionizing police response to emergencies and ensuring swift and efficient action in critical situations.
The adoption of social media by law enforcement agencies is a global phenomenon.
Police agencies use the media to conduct investigations, often monitoring individuals, identifying suspects, locating missing persons, and tracking police officers, suspects, witnesses, and victims.
Social media provides information that can assist investigations both prospectively (i.e., identifying networks or indications of criminal intentions, etc.) and retrospectively (i.e., tracing what a person did on the day of the crime).
Social media can help the justice system find evidence about the planning, commission, or consequences of a crime, aid in identifying suspects, victims, or witnesses, and reveal the motive for the crime.
The use of social media may lead criminals to post pictures of themselves with weapons and drugs or commit crimes and offences, allowing police to gather evidence and information about criminal networks.
In addition, it is possible to analyze relationships between individuals through their contacts in various media, identification in publications, online conversations, and associations between individuals. Social media can thus be used to corroborate physical evidence.
In fact, IGP Kayode Egbetokun sees social media as an indispensable tool in police work, especially in surveillance, intelligence gathering, and conducting investigations.
Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached at 08166240846 or firstname.lastname@example.org