The Nigerian Police Force on Monday issued tips to Nigerians on how to avoid clashes with its operatives at a police checkpoint.
The police, in a post via their verified Twitter handle, @PoliceNG, urged Nigerians to avoid an unnecessary argument or challenging armed personnel on duty.
They also advised Nigerians to avoid giving an unhappy impression when encountering an officer on their beat. The following were outlined as how Nigerians should comport themselves when at checkpoints:
- Endeavour to slow down your vehicle. It shows that you are not reckless. It also douses suspicion that you are a criminal and may want to speed off.
- Turn down the volume of your car stereo. Courtesy demands this. Besides, you are able to hear each other better. This simple act will also help you to win the confidence of the security operative.
- Keep your hands visible to avoid unnecessary suspicion or fear by the officers that you are attempting to bring out a gun or other harmful objects to attack them.
- Turn on the inner light of your vehicle while approaching the cops (if at night). It readily sends an unspoken message that you have nothing to hide.
- Be friendly and cheerful. Commend the officers especially when you see them working under very unfriendly weather conditions such as the rains, the harsh harmattan conditions, excessive heat, cold or sunshine. We know it’s their job, but a little kind word from you will do a lot of good. Remember when you smile at the mirror, the mirror smiles back at you.
- Endeavour to be polite even when answering questions put to you by the officers.
- Don’t dare or challenge an armed security man to a duel. Oftentimes, you hear people say things like ‘shoot me if you can!” Note that this is a recipe for disaster! It is very provocative and an unnecessary call for war. So, please play safe, more so, as you do not know the state of mind of the officer concerned.
- Also, don’t go into a physical fight with an armed security officer. He may resort to the use of his weapon (rightly or wrongly) to defend himself.
- Avoid unnecessary argument with armed security personnel. There are a thousand and one ways to seek redress where you feel your rights have been infringed upon.
- Never try to touch an officer in an unfriendly manner. He may suspect you of trying to disarm him.
- If you are a regular traveler or road user, make sure you have the police emergency phone numbers of the route you operate. You never can tell when an emergency situation could arise and you need the Police to come to your aid.
- Make sure you have all your relevant car papers and desist from actions or inactions that constitute either a criminal or traffic offence. Such infractions of the law provide veritable grounds for possible charges and other forms of adversarial contact with the Police or other law enforcement agencies, including unnecessary arguments.
- Don’t give the impression that you are unhappy to see an officer on his beat or that he is wasting your time. But if you do have an emergency, politely inform the officer. Don’t speed off while still being checked.
- Take note of the name tags, Force or Service numbers, personal description, description of weapons or patrol vehicle of the security officer especially where the officers begin to conduct themselves in an unprofessional manner.
- Seek an audience with the most senior police officer at the checkpoint if things are not working out smoothly.
- Politely insist to be taken to the police station if your complaint is not properly addressed.
Newsworth reports that these tips are coming on the heels of recent killings and brutality of citizens by police officers. The killings have recently drawn widespread condemnation from advocacy groups some of which held public protests and called for the scrapping of the Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS.