The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has attributed the misuse of firearms and extra-judicial killings by policemen to work-related stress and emotional conditions which disoriented their rationality.
He has, therefore, directed police personnel to revert to the traditional eight-hour work shift from the current 12-hour daily shift.
The directive, he said, was informed by the need to address “a major, age-long occupational stressor which long hours of duty engenders among personnel in the Nigeria Police Force and which occasions depression and abuse of power and other unprofessional conducts.”
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the maiden Conference of Medical Officers and heads of medical facilities in the Nigeria Police Formations and Commands, Adamu stated that henceforth, no police officer should be made to perform any duty exceeding eight hours within a space of 24 hours unless there was a local or national emergency.
He stated, “Arguments have been raised that the resonating incidents of misuse of firearms and other extra-judicial actions by police personnel often result directly from work-related stresses and emotional conditions which disorient their rationality.
“In consideration of this, I have ordered that with immediate effect, the shift duty structure of the Nigeria Police which is currently a 12-hour, two-shift system should be reverted to the traditional eight hours, three-shift standard.”
The IG tasked the medical officers to complement the leadership of the Nigeria Police by striving at all times to guarantee a healthy work-life balance and ensuring that police officers attained the highest possible level of health status that could prevent occupational health stress factors which manifest in fatigue, compromised immune system, heart diseases and high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, irritability, risk of substance abuse and emotional instability.
He noted, “All of these, if not medically managed, could engender unprofessional reactions with fatal consequences to the affected police personnel and members of the public.”
Additionally, the IG pointed out, the NPMS must start to put in place strategies and techniques including cognitive therapy and emotional intelligence models that can strengthen the stress management capacity and operational resilience of all personnel.
Adamu further admonished the police medical department to engage in medical outreaches to communities, educational institutions, youths and children population and other challenged communities with a view to rendering professional medical services.