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Extrajudicial killings: Cops to undergo psychiatric test, says IG

The Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, has said police operatives will henceforth be subjected to annual psychiatric test and mental evaluation.

This, he said, was aimed at reducing increasing cases of extrajudicial killings by police operatives across the country.

Arase said both serving officers and fresh recruits into the force would be made to undergo the annual psychiatric test.

The IG said this on Tuesday at the validation meeting on the Nigeria Police Force Health Policy draft at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.

He said, “Sometimes I get very worried when police officers shoot innocent civilians and I keep thinking something can be done. Now we are thinking of taking our officers through psychiatric and psychological tests before we recruit them. Even those who are already with us, we are going to make it an annual thing.”

He noted that not many police officers could manage the stress of law enforcement, adding that the force planned to ameliorate the job-related stress its personnel go through.

Stating that he was conversant with the pressure and stress faced by its operatives personnel, the IG announced that the force would build trauma centres to manage the stress suffered by its operatives.

Arase said, “The job we do is very stressful, sometimes not everyone can take the heat in the kitchen, and if you cannot take the heat, you don’t go to the kitchen. So, we are working to see how we can ameliorate the trauma they go through.

“I know in the UK (United Kingdom) that if a police officer is involved in shooting, he is removed from core police duties until he is debriefed and he goes through some tests to ensure that he is fit enough to handle firearms. These are what we are thinking of bringing into the system.

“Also, we are planning to build trauma centres because most of our officers go through a lot of trauma. And we should be concerned about their mental well-being. I know the type of pressure officers go through.”

He maintained that the shortfall in the numerical strength of the force made officers to work long hours, noting that this sometimes impacted negatively on their ability to pay attention to details.

Speaking on the police health policy, Arase said that the Nigeria Police Medical Services established in 1975, had grown over the years. He, however, noted that this had come with certain management deficiencies, infrastructural deficits and uncorrelated medical equipment acquisition.

He said, “In order to holistically tackle these challenges, it has become expedient that a health policy be developed for the NPF and this explains why I promptly gave my approval for this process to commence in October 2015.”