The Nigeria Police Force is to revert to the traditional eight-hour structure of shift duty to address occupational stressor which long duty hours engenders
Mohammed Adamu, inspector general of police (IGP) ordered that the shift duty structure of the Nigeria Police which is currently a 12-hour, two-shifts system should be reverted to the traditional eight-hour, three-shifts shift standard with immediate effect.
According to Adamu, the directive is specifically 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.
“For purpose of clarity, henceforth, no police personnel should be made to perform any duty exceeding eight-hours within a space of 24 hours unless there is a local or national emergency. In advancing this intention, the Nigeria Police Medical Services (NPMS) must complement the leadership of the Nigeria Police by striving at all times to guarantee a healthy work-life balance and ensuring that our officers attain the highest possible level of health status that will prevent occupational health stress factors which manifest into fatigue, compromised immune system, heart diseases and high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, irritability, risk of substance abuse and emotional instability.
“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 NPMS must start emplacing strategies and techniques including cognitive therapy and emotional intelligence models that will strengthen the stress management capacity and operational resilience of all personnel.
“I challenge you to engage these issues as part of your agenda for this Conference,” he said
Adamu gave the directive today while urging the NPMS, to engage in medical outreaches to targeted communities, educational institutions, youths and children population. Adamu, said this would enhance their capacity to mobilise to medically challenged communities with a view to rendering professional services.
At the maiden conference of the heads of Nigeria Police Medical Facilities in Abuja, Adamu said medical services envisioned for the Nigeria Police within this context, is one that can appreciate and respond to modern threats to national security, particularly bio-terrorism and management of communicable diseases.
According to him, the Police Medical Services must review and strengthen its institutional and personnel capacity towards intervening in national emergencies occasioned by acts of crime and terrorism.
“This will also enhance their ability in the management of defilement, rape and other gender-based crimes.
“In essence, the Police Medical Services must be engaged, henceforth, as the socio-medical component of policing and as a strategic vehicle that will be utilised by the current police leadership to achieve two fundamental objectives.
“First is to propel the attainment of our community policing vision. Second, to aid in enhancing the emotional, psychological, physical and medical well-being of all police personnel with a view to keeping them fit and preparing them for optimal law enforcement service delivery.
“Policing being a highly demanding job physically, mentally and psychologically, it is pertinent to note that efficiency in discharge of Police duties requires a good state of physical, mental and psychological wellbeing.
“Indeed, 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,” he said.