The Nigeria Police Force is the principal law enforcement agency in the country. It had its origins in Lagos following the creation of a 30-man Consular Guard in 1861. The small guard was subsequently expanded to 600 men in 1891 and renamed "Hausa Police", because of the enlistment of some captured run-away Hausa slaves at Jebba by Lt. Glover R. N. Again in 1879 the Hausa Police was further enlarged by the recruitment of more men and renamed the "Hausa Constabulary". It then consisted of 1,200 officers and men commanded by an Inspector-General of Police.
The duties of the Hausa Constabulary entailed attending to security needs of the colonial administration which encompassed both military and civil police functions. It however, was largely military in character and posture, one of such military duties was the provision of a detachment of 8 officers and 51 men for the Arochukwu expedition.
On January 1, 1896, the Lagos Police Force was established. Like the Hausa Constabulary, the Force was armed and consisted of a Commissioner of Police, 2 Assistant Commissioners, 1 Superintendent, 1 Assistant Superintendent, a Pay Master, Quarter Master, Master Tailor and 250 other ranks. The Force operated mainly in the Lagos area, while the "Hausa Constabulary" was in the hinterland.
A similar Force, the Niger Coast Constabulary was formed in Calabar in 1894 under the newly proclaimed Niger Coast Protectorate. It was modeled after the Hausa Constabulary but with emphasis on the military role. During its six years of existence, the force mainly engaged in active service and formed part of the major expedition against Benin in 1896.
When the protectorate of Northern and Southern Nigeria were proclaimed in the early 1900s, part of the Royal Niger Constabulary became the Northern Nigeria Police and part of the Niger Coast Constabulary became the Southern Nigeria Police.
During the colonial period, most police were associated with Local Governments (Native Authorities). However, in the 1960s, under the First Republic, these forces were first regionalized and then nationalized. The British merged Lagos colony and the Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914 and named the new colony Nigeria. The Northern and Southern Regional Police Forces were later merged in 1930 to form the colony's first National Police.
Sections 214 to 216 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria provides for the Nigeria Police Force. Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution (As amended) categorically states that, "There shall be a Police Force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section, no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof". The Police Act, however, regulates the Force. Section 4 of the Police Act provides that, ' "The Police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged "
Officers and men of the Force are deployed across the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja to fight crimes, criminality and ensure the maintenance of law-and-order vis-a-vis peaceful co-existence in the society.
The operational command and control of the Nigeria Police Force is under the Inspector General of Police. Section 215 (1) (a) of the Nigerian Constitution states that, "There shall be an Inspector-General of Police, who, subject to section 216(2) of this Constitution shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Force"
For administrative ease, the Force is divided into seven (7) Departments. There is the Department of Finance and Administration; Department of Operations; Department of Logistics and Supply; Force Criminal Investigation Department; Department of Training and Development; Research and Planning; and Information and Communication Technology Department. Each of the seven Departments is headed by a Deputy Inspector General of Police, supported by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police. The Force is further divided into 17 operational Zonal Commands. Each Zonal Command is headed by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police with two, three or four state commands under the AIG to superintend. The 36 States of the Federation including FCT, Abuja have Police Commands headed by Commissioners of Police. The State Police Commands have Area Commands, Divisions and Police Outposts. The Area Commands are manned by Assistant Commissioners of Police. The Police Divisions are headed by Divisional Police Officers between the Ranks of DSP to CSP. The Police Outposts are headed by ASPs and Inspectors. This decentralization of the Police structures is to ensure adequate protection of lives and properties.
NPF personnel have track records of peacekeeping operations and are well respected and recognized for their exploits in contributing to global peace and security. On the home front, they play the lead role in the internal security management of the country within the constitutional framework and the Police Act.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
Section 214 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution reads: There shall be a Police Force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provision of this section no other Police Force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof.
DUTIES OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
Section 4 of the Police Acts and Regulations lists the duties of the police force to include:
RANKS OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
ENTRY LEVELS INTO THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE