IGP Unveils Police Standard Operating Procedures For Handling Cases Involving Children

IGP Usman Alkali Baba on Thursday, 8th June 2023 unveils the Nigeria Police Force Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Handling Cases Involving children in conflict with the Law, today at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.

Unveiling the 15, 000 copies of the Standard Operating Procedures, the Inspector-General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba the approved SOPs offer a strategic framework to provide clear guidelines on procedures for providing services for children to facilitate timely access to justice, as justice delays are justice denied.

The IGP stated that a workforce with the ability to create and implement child-friendly procedures will be needed to implement the SOPs. However, there is room for improvement in the child justice system’s implementation of kid-friendly practices, including in the Nigeria Police Force.

“The child-friendly procedures will include using language suitable for their age at all stages of the process, provision, and utilization of safe and comfortable child-friendly interviewing spaces, provision of support by appropriate adults, linkages with social welfare and other sector services, availability of trauma-informed interview and testimony processes, removal of intimidating attire and appearances, evidence-based and timely provision of services, an adaptation of proceeding protocols and information management system for the evidenced-based services delivery,” he said.

In their goodwill messages respectively, the representatives of the European Union, Esme Stuart, a Project Manager, Human Rights, and Gender noted that today’s launch is part of the regional partnership between UNICEF and the European Union that aims to provide excess to justice for children on the move and other vulnerable children not only in Nigeria but in six countries across West Africa.

“As an EU delegation to Nigeria, we are happy that Nigeria is part of this regional project because there is always room for improvement in the excess to justice and alternative care option for children, especially for those in vulnerable situations,” She said.

Dr. Ibrahim Sesay, Chief Child Protection, UNICEF, took advantage of the occasion to express gratitude to the European Union for its financial support of the creation of the SOPs. This makes a significant contribution to the improvement of the protection of children and their well-being in Nigeria, particularly for those involved in the project who are on the move.

The creation of these SOPs demonstrates the Nigeria Police Force’s dedication to ensuring child-friendly policing throughout the Federation. The processes adhere to regional norms, best practices, and international legal frameworks, including but not limited to guidelines for the protection of minors who have been deprived of their liberty and the minimum standards for the administration of juvenile justice.

Miss Nkiru Maduechesi, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF gave the significance of investing in the implementation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which is for AWARENESS: Policymakers, service providers, allies, stakeholders, children, and caregivers are aware of the SOPs and adopt; “For UNDERSTANDING: Police officers and allied workforce in the social welfare who are the intended users benefit by having improved capacity to implement the standard. “For ACTION: Children served by Police benefit from services which comply with the standards bring about positive changes in protection, well-being, peace and prosperity of children, families, and country as a whole,” she noted.

The Standard Operating Procedures is developed with support from UNICEF and the European Union to standardize the response of the Nigeria Police Force to cases involving children who come in contact with the law.