By Uzorma Nathan

There are few better measures of the concern a society has for its individual members and its own well being than the way it handles criminals. Yes, the real significance of crime is its being a breach of faith with the community of mankind. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “All crime is a kind of disease and should be treated as such”. For Bonaparte, “The contagion of crime is like that of the plague. Criminals collected together corrupt each other. They are worse than ever when, at the termination of their punishment, they return to society”.

The point here is that the society is at the receiving end, no matter how criminals function. No wonder crime control has been described as a major ingredient which oils the wheel of peaceful co-existence and sustainable growth and development of any society. Its absence in the system equates it with lawlessness and chaos leading to not just the insecurity of lives and property but also to economic and political sabotage.

The Imo State Police command under the leadership of the new Commissioner of Police Mr. Muhammad Kastina upon assumption of office rolled out his active and proactive action plans to tackle crime in order to build safer, stronger and healthier communities. The state police lord who in his appearance looks like an active lion in the field appears not to be joking.

It is on record that Mr. Muhammad Kastina took over from Mr. B.A Bolanta (now AIG) few months ago in 2013. In just few months in office, the new Commissioner of Police has through his logical and proactive measures shown a great deal of responsibility in the implementation of effective crime control strategies that have worked for the common good of the people of Imo State.

The command under the able leadership of the new CP has employed effective and cost effective ways to prevent and reduce crime by intervening on the risk factors before crime happens. Its approach has been the promotion and implementation of effective crime prevention practices. Like Mahatma Gandhi would say, “Action expresses priorities”. Now in accordance with the act of doing G.K Chesterton says, “I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act”. For Cicero the great philosopher, “We should not be so taken up in the search for truth, as to neglect the needful duties of active life; for it is only action that gives a true value and commendation to virtue”.

From the foregoing, it becomes evident that action that is inter-twined with justice must produce good result. Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. A man's action is only a picture book of his creed and credo. Brave actions never want a trumpet. Shakespeare infers, “Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing”. Now, in the act of doing, which has resulted to doing it well, the Imo police command is presently working closely with partners and stakeholders in the state and beyond to develop and implement results-driven programs that target specific crime issues in various communities in the state.

In his maiden press conference the state police boss observed that ever since he assumed office, he was able to spend time to appraise himself on some peculiarities of the Command. There is an understanding of the nature of crime and criminality in the Command, and their impact on safety and security. As the heartland of the South East geo-political region, it is understandable that Imo State Command has the challenge of kidnapping and other violent crimes, which adversely affect the tone of social and economic life in the state. However, I am delighted to inform my reader that the on-going programme initiated by the Command is the right step in the right direction aimed at checking the menace of criminal. In line with his proactive philosophy in dealing with crimes, the police boss has devised new and robust strategies to checkmate the activities of criminals in the state.

This new measure adopted by Mr. Kastina has to a large extent reduced the rate of kidnapping in Imo state. The Command has increased police visibility on streets and highways even though the CP is against road-blocks cum extortion and has as a result disciplined many police officers who are found in one corrupt practice or the other. He has as well embarked on a serious neighborhood policing, a method that appears to be working miracles. Sporadic and organized raids have been carried out to dislodge criminals and kidnappers from their hideouts, demolish their structures, and to frustrate their evil intentions. Police response time to distress calls has significantly improved. Even the bad eggs in the police are afraid of the presence of Mr. Kastina whom they regard as a “hard CP who does not believe in making returns-roja.”

From the above expressions of some police men concerning the state Police boss, one can infer that the new police philosophy is now zero tolerance to corruption. But can the Nigeria police be corrupt free? I doubt! But there are good ones. The Commissioner of police in his new policies in making sure that people are not unlawfully detained, has resurrected a Human Right team that reports to him every morning the activities of his men and that of the public. This is aimed at making sure that people's fundamental rights are not violated.

The administration of the new CP has recorded many cases of foiled armed robbery and that of kidnapping. The suspects were all arrested. His new concept of community policing is working well for the state command as it provided communities with tools, knowledge and support to undertake crime prevention initiatives in communities large and small across the state. The community policing concept which is working in a collaboration fashion to share information on public safety and security has helped the Command to ensure that individuals, communities and organizations share the right information at the right time to keep the state safe from criminals. From my personal assessment of Mr. Kastina, I can liken him to AIG Muhammad Abubakar in Zone 3 a man with impeccable records.

Recognizing that public safety environment includes a broader set of partners and stakeholder groups, the Command extends its initiative beyond law enforcement to address all information sharing relevant to public safety and security a strategy which must work well for the state. To this effect, the Command can be said to have recorded a huge success in its fight against crime in a short period. Nobody however can run away from the fact that the year 2013 is a very challenging and tasking one for Imo Police command as quite a number of criminal operations took place. Nevertheless, the present CP has shown great resolve and commitment to the fight against crime.

The command under the able leadership of the new CP, Mr. Muhammad has also recovered many stolen or snatched vehicles, some of which have since been released to their lawful owners. The CP also embarked on familiarization tour of the Area Command and the Divisions throughout the state to interact with officers and men of the Command as well as leaders of thought in various communities. The gentleman CP has assured Imo people of a level playing field in the fight against crime in 2013. Is the above a mouth watering promise? Can the new CP who has shown seriousness in a short time afford to be joking in Imo state? We are watching!