Anambra State has flagged off the Police Public Relations Officers, PRO 2019 Conference.
The Conference is a 4-day capacity building workshop for image-makers and communication managers of the Nigeria police, drawn from the 36 States of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
The Conference which is holding in Awka has its theme for this year as “Public Relations Strategies and Communication skills.”
The Force PRO, Frank Mba, said: “The workshop was aimed at enhancing the capacity of officers whose primary responsibility was to manage the image and information dissemination process towards repositioning the Nigeria Police and changing the uninformed perceptions and faulty narratives about the Force.”
Influence of New Media
Mba explained that the capacity building became necessary due to the emergence and influence of the new media and other technological inventions.
He said that the emerging trends in the communications sector made it imperative that gatekeepers of information and spokespersons of the police force needed to be equipped more with modern tools of Communications.
He said equipping them would help them discharge their duties effectively and efficiently in order to portray the Nigeria police in good light.
The Police PRO thanked the State Governor, Willie Obiano who made all the necessary assistance available for the success of the conference.
“The governor as his name implies ‘Akpokodike’ is really prompt when called upon. He is a force to reckon with,” he said.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu said the Force in Anambra State had enjoyed cordial relationship with the government under Governor Willie Obiano.
Reposition the Police
However, he admitted that the force inarguably has bad image in the eyes of the publics and said that it was at the wake of this realisation that an informed decision by his administration was taken to embark on image laundering activities to reposition the Nigeria Police Force.
He urged the Police image-makers to do everything humanly possible to correct the situation.
“Certain indiscretions and perceived inactions by some personnel of the Force, as well as the security challenges in some parts of the country, create negative impression on the image of the Force.
“This reality, coupled with the dynamic nature of the crime, rapidly advancing information and communication technology, and the changing policing environment that we deal with in the line of our duty, have combined to redefine both the concept of policing and the perception of the police by the citizens.
“Indeed, experts have asserted that there is an intertwining relationship between public perception and the effectiveness of the Police to attain its internal security mandate.
“The import of this is that our ability to win over the public trust and confidence as a pathway to crime management is precedent on the capacity of you, the officers, to rebrand the police and project it positively to the citizens,” the Police Boss explained.
According to the IGP, the Public Relations department of the Nigeria Police remained critical, therefore, it was imperative that the PPROs were continually equipped with necessary skills and knowledge to efficiently engage the public and effectively manage the image and perceptions about the Force.
The Inspector-General of Police was represented by Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 9 Umuahia, AIG Baba Tijjani,
The State Governor, Willie Obiano who declared the conference open in his speech, commended the Nigeria Police input in crime fighting and crime prevention across the country.
He stated that not all Nigerian police officers are corrupt as some of them discharge their duties and obligations with all commitments.
Governor Obiano said most of the things being said about the police were not true even though some errant officers did exist but noted that they were not enough to malign the police because the police according to him, have internal mechanisms and disciplinary measures against erring members of the force.
Obiano, assured participants of maximum security and safety and enjoined them to find time to visit some of the completed as well as on-going projects of his administration and also savor the richness of its tourist attractions.
He added that his administration would distribute some security equipment to the police on Friday.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ President, Chris Isiguzo commended the IGP on initiating a very timely and germane event to expose PR Personnel to proper conduct in engaging members of the public on matters bordering on policing and security.
“To us in the media, we will like to call for more of such events that will involve media professionals, because the global information crisis in which journalism is being overwhelmed by the narrow self-interests of political and corporate centres of power is felt strongly in in Nigeria, where hate-speech, fake news and abusive exploitation of information technology are endangering pluralism and democracy,” the NUJ President stated.
The conference had in attendance PPROs from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the 12 Zonal Police Public Relations Officers, as well as Staff Officers of the Force Public Relations Department, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
The Anambra State CP John B.Abang and heads of other Sister Agencies were also present.
Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of a plaque to Governor Willie Obiano for his supportive role to the police in Anambra State.