CODE OF CONDUCT AND PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS FOR POLICE OFFICERS
To achieve the Mission and Visions as well as imbibe the values illustrated above, it is expedient to formulate a Code of Conduct for all Police officers employed into the Service of the Nigeria Police Force. The code will be regarded as an accountability code that will apply to all officers (irrespective of rank) and will reflect International conventions for Law Enforcement Agents, the provisions of sections 353-368 of Part XV of the Police Act (cap 359) and other relevant Force Orders as well as Public Service Rules.
The purpose of having a code of conduct is to provide all members for the Nigeria Police Force with a set of guiding principles and standards of behaviour while on or off-duty. It is intended to be used by Police officers in determining what is right and proper in all their actions. The code should set an outline which every member of the Force can easily understand. It will enable Policemen to know what type of conduct by a Police officer is right and what is wrong. The code will encompass the following:
Primary Responsibilities of a Police Officer – A police officer acts as an official representative of government who is required and trusted to work within the law. The officer’s powers and duties are conferred by statute. The fundamental duties of a police officer include serving the community, safeguarding lives and property, protecting the innocent, keeping the peace and ensuring the rights of all to liberty, equality and justice;
Performance of duties as a police officer – a police officer shall perform all duties impartially, without favor of affection or ill will and without regard to status, sex, race, religion, political belief or aspiration. All citizens will be treated equally with courtesy, consideration and dignity. Officers will never allow personal feelings, animosities or friendships to influence official conduct. Laws will be enforced appropriately and courteously and in carrying out their responsibilities, officers will strive to obtain maximum cooperation from the public. They will conduct themselves both in appearance and composure, in such a manner as to inspire confidence and respect for the position of public trust they hold.
Discretion - a Police officer will use responsibly, the discretion vested in his position and exercise it within the law.
Use of Force – a police officer will never employ unnecessary force or violence and will use only such force in discharge of duty, as is reasonable in all circumstances. The use of force should be used only after discussion, negotiation and persuasion have been found to be inappropriate or ineffective. While the use of force is occasionally unavoidable, every police officer will refrain from unnecessary infliction of pain or suffering and will never engage in cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment of any person.
Confidentiality – Whatever a police officer sees, hears or learns which is of a confidential nature, will be kept secret unless the performance of duty or legal provision requires otherwise. Members of the public have a right to security and privacy, and information obtained about them must not be improperly divulged
Integrity – a police officer will not engage in acts of corruption or bribery, nor will an officer condone such acts by other police officers. The public demands that the integrity of police officers be above reproach. Police officers must therefore, avoid any conduct that might compromise integrity and that undercut the confidence reposed by the public, in the Police. Officers will refuse to accept any gifts, presents, subscriptions, favours, gratuities or promises that could be interpreted as seeking to cause the officer to refrain from performing official responsibilities honestly and within the law. Police officers must not receive private or special advantage from their official status. Respect from the public cannot be bought; it can only be earned and cultivated.
Cooperation with other Police Officers and Agencies – Police officers will cooperate with all legally authorized agencies and their representatives in the pursuit of justice. An officer or agency may be one among many organizations that may provide law enforcement services to a jurisdiction. It is imperative that a police officer assists colleagues fully and completely with respect and consideration at all times;
Personal Professional Capabilities - Police Officers will be responsible for their own standard of professional performance and will take every reasonable opportunity to enhance and improve their level or knowledge and competence. Through study and experience, a police officer can acquire the high level of knowledge and competence that is essential for the efficient and effective performance of duty. The acquisition of knowledge is a never ending process of personal and professional development that should be pursued constantly;