The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) have given out some tips to Nigerians on how to behave at the checkpoint in other to avoid a clash with police officers there.
These tips was released on Monday through a Twitter handle,@PoliceNG, which has been verified to be theirs.
1. Why do you need to follow these tips to behave at checkpoint?
The tips advised Nigerian motorists and the general public to avoid having any unnecessary argument with an armed police officer or challenging them when they are on duty.
The police also implored road users to stop putting up an unhappy impression when they approach police officers at the checkpoint.
Knowing how to behave at checkpoint can save your life
These tips was coming in the light of recent killings and cruel treatment meted out to citizens by the Nigerian Police. The killings have attracted general condemnation from various quarters like advocacy groups, where some has taken to holding public protest in different parts of the country.
On the other hand, a lot of Nigerians have used social media platforms where they have an account, to share their experiences with the Nigerian Police and also requesting that the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) be scrapped out.
Last month, a police officer by name Yemi Shogunle, who was formerly heading the Police Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit used his Twitter handle, @YemiShogunle, to advise Nigerians on how best to have a proper communication relationship with a police officer on his beat.
He said it will facilitate proper communication relationship and understanding between Nigerian police officers and the public.
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2. Tips to behave at checkpoint, recommended by Nigerian police
Let's see the tips to avoid clash at police checkpoint, as shared on Naijauto.
- Always slow down your car when approaching a checkpoint. It projects you as a careful driver. Again, it eliminates any room for suspecting you to be an armed robber who may likely zoom off.
- Reduce the volume of your stereo set. It’s ethical to do so and you wouldn't even have to strain your ear trying to hear what the officer is saying. With this act, you can win the confidence of the police officer on duty post.
- Make sure your hands are visible enough to be seen by officers, to avoid any form of suspicion, like giving the officers the impression that you are about attacking them with a gun or harmful object.
- When driving at night, turn your car's inner lights on when you get to the checkpoint. This is a way of letting them know you aren't hiding anything.
- Be friendly and put up a cheerful face whenever you come across them. Don’t forget to commend their efforts at ensuring the security of citizens, especially when they are working under the sun or in the rain. Sure we know they are doing their job but a kind word helps. Your kindness will get to be reciprocated.
- Try not to be rude to them. Be polite when you are being questioned by police officers.
Be polite & speak pidgin to express your co-operation!
- Don’t challenge or provoke armed security personnel to a dispute. Most times, some people have opted to use provoking phrases like “Shoot me if you can" on officers. This statement is literally courting trouble as its confrontational which isn't necessary. Endeavor to play safe by keeping your tone down. You can never tell what's going on with the security officer-his state of mind.
- Never try this: Do not for any reason engage in a physical fight with an armed policeman. You don't need to be told that he may end up using his gun (rightly or wrongly) in a bid to defend himself.
- Avoid having any form of argument with a police officer who's armed. There are a whole lot of ways you can seek redress if you think your rights have been trampled upon.
- We know the police is the masses' friend, however, on no account should you try touching police personnel in an unfriendly way. He may be inclined to think that you want to disarm him.
- If you ply the road every day or you travel on a regular basis, be sure you have the police emergency contact number of the route you ply. This is for cases of emergencies that may come up when you will be needing the assistance of the police.
- Before you hit the road, check if you have all your necessary car papers with you. You should. And avoid engaging in any action or inaction that may come off as being criminal or a violation of traffic rules. When you violate the law, you are giving room for charges to be brought against you and antagonistic contact with the police personnel or law enforcement agencies.
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- When approaching a police checkpoint, maintain a cheerful countenance. Don't put up an angry look which says that you aren't happy seeing security personnel on his duty post or that he's about to waste your time. If you have an emergency, then politely let the officer know. Don't zoom off when the officer is still checking you.
- Note down the name tags, service or force numbers, a personal description of a police officer, a description of their weapon or the patrol vehicle being used, especially when the security personnel starts exhibiting unprofessional behavior.
- If things aren't going on smoothly while you are being checked. Ask to talk with the senior personnel on the ground.
- If your complaint is not being handled properly, politely insist that you head to the police station.