The police high command has threatened to take tough sanctions against vigilance groups operating in Ogun State without proper registration with the police.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Israel Ajao, who said this in Abeokuta on Friday, described as illegal, the tendency of vigilance groups to run their affairs without the supervision of the police.

Ajao, who was addressing policemen at the state police command during a tour, wondered how a quasi-security outfit could operate without the knowledge of the police, a development he believed had given the organisations the latitude to take the laws into their hands frequently.

Taking a census and thorough screening of the personnel of the groups, the DIG reasoned, would help to check the excesses of the vigilance groups, which he admitted were to complement the efforts of the police in ensuring the security of the society.

He said, 'We encourage volunteer force but we will not tolerate vigilance groups, who operate outside the purview of the police. It is necessary to know those behind every vigilance group; so, all the Divisional Police Officers must take a census of all vigilance groups in their areas. You must know their personalities, their names and pictures preferably. You must know who they are in the society and what they do; that's the way we can monitor them very well.

'It was the vigilance group in Ijebu Ife that triggered the crisis in that town in December. Criminals can form themselves into a vigilance group and continue to operate.'