The Nigerian Police has changed its pattern of work to enable officers achieve mental stability in order to protect the public.
The change was announced on Thursday at the maiden conference of the heads of Nigeria Police medical facilities held at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
It comes after a litany of extra-judicial killings by trigger-happy policemen, which has sparked relentless public outcry on increasing police brutality.
Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General Of Police, ordered the reversal of the shift duty structure of the force from the current 12-hour, two-shift system to the traditional eight-hour, three-shift standard, saying it would "aid in enhancing the emotional, psychological, physical and medical well-being of all police personnel with a view to keeping them fit and preparing them for optimal law enforcement service delivery".
“Policing being a highly demanding job physically, mentally and psychologically, it is pertinent to note that efficiency in discharge of police duties requires a good state of physical, mental and psychological wellbeing," he said.
“Indeed, arguments have been raised that the resonating incidents of misuse of firearms and other extra-judicial actions by police personnel often result directly from work-related stresses and emotional conditions which disorient their rationality.
“In consideration of this, I have ordered that with immediate effect, the shift duty structure of the Nigeria Police which is currently a 12-hour, two-shift system should be reverted to the traditional eight-hour, three-shift standard.
“This directive is specifically informed by the need to address a major, age-long occupational stress or which long hours of duty engenders among personnel in the Nigeria Police Force and which occasions depression and abuse of power and other unprofessional conducts.
“For purpose of clarity, henceforth, no police personnel should be made to perform any duty exceeding eight hours within a space of 24 hours unless there is a local or national emergency. All of these, if not medically managed, could engender unprofessional reactions with fatal consequences to the affected police personnel and members of the public.
“Additionally, the NPMS must start emplacing strategies and techniques including cognitive therapy and emotional intelligence models that will strengthen the stress management capacity and operational resilience of all personnel. I challenge you to engage these issues as part of your agenda for this conference.”