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Rights group urges Police to respect rights of suspects

The Human Rights Volunteer Corps (HRVC), a rights group, has called on police personnel to always respect the rights of suspects as a mark of professionalism.

Executive Director of the group, Mr. Larry Oguego, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Monday.

Oguego said that the image of the police had remained low due to how its personnel treated members of the public that came in contact with them.

“You cannot expect people to speak positive of police personnel when they have terrible and negative experience when they meet them; most especially at the stations.

“Why will a policeman ask a suspect, who might be at the station on false allegation, to sit on the floor or brutalise him unnecessarily. After all, the law presumes that a suspect is innocent unless proven otherwise by a competent law court.

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“Or police personnel leaving their professional duty to delve into marital, family and communal issues that are civil in nature and dragging those that are arrested in these type of matter to the station,’’ he said.

The activist also urged Divisional Police Officers (DPO) to ensure that they post senior officers that know the job as station officers and station desk officers; since they are the first contact of the public with the police.

He noted that the police personnel adhering to strict professional ethics would help reduce unnecessary litigation and undue damages demanded from the organisation.

“As people grow in knowledge and awareness; police personnel must be careful in discharging their delicate duties by striving to be professional always.

“There is now a growing tendency to sue the police either at the command or station level as well as sue the individual policeman that has committed an infringement.

“It will be unfortunate that the police will use the meager money meant for its operation to settle debts incurred in the court through damages,’’ he said. (NAN)