YOU CAN’T SEARCH A POLICE MAN ON DUTY FORMER AIG OF POLICE
A former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr Tunji Cualcrick, says there is no part of the Nigerian Constitution that allows anyone to search a police officer.
“Of course, I served 33 years in the police; I did not see any section of the law that authorises anybody to search a police officer before he searches you,” he affirmed.
Mr Cualcrick made the comment in response to a question regarding a series of tweets posted by the Nigeria Police Force two weeks ago.
In a piece entitled ‘Tips for Safe and Cordial Conducts During an Arrest Situation’ and tweeted on May 13, 2019, the police said Nigerians can request to search its personnel.
“You may politely request that the officer be searched before searching you,” the Force said.
It added, “Often times, this helps to allay fears that someone may be trying to ‘plant’ incriminating items on you or implicate you in any other way.
“If the arrest requires the officer to conduct a search on you, demand to see the Search Warrant and comply with all legitimate instruction during the search (Note that there are a lot of instances where a policeman can search you with or without warrant).
Read the full tips by the police below:
Arrest situations can easily turn violent. If not properly handled, it can portray you as a hostile person or give the impression that you are resisting arrest which on its own constitutes an offence, therefore:
Do not resist arrest. Even if you believe that the arrest is illegal or uncalled for, allow the arrest to take place without any incident.
Note that resisting arrest could lead to an encounter that might result in harm, injuries and/or permanent disabilities or death to you or even the officer arresting you.
It is, therefore, better to allow the arrest to take place without an incident and thereafter seek redress and appropriate sanction against the defaulting officer through a legitimate process.
Politely demand to know the reason for your arrest. It is your right to know. Also, where the officers have not disclosed their identity, courteously request their identity and where they came from, or the office where they work.
On arrest, it is within the powers of the police to do any of the following:
-Search your body, clothing and other belongings
– On the highway, the police may search your vehicle if you were in it at the time, they stopped you.
– May ask you to write and sign a statement. It is, however, your right to decline, especially if you feel that doing so will implicate you.
– The Police may ask you to perform some tests such as walking in a straight line.
This is so when they suspect you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, particularly in the absence of breathalyses or other forensic aids.
– Handcuff you if you are violent or show propensity to escape.
Always let the officers know your health challenge (if any) after arrest.
This is important in case you may need immediate medical attention, particularly asthmatic patients, persons with history of epilepsy, high blood pressure, diabetes especially those on insulin etc.
You should immediately make full disclosures.
Demand to see the warrant of arrest where necessary (Note however that not all invitation/arrest requires a warrant). As a matter of fact, under our laws, the Police have wide powers to arrest without warrant in many circumstances.
Politely request that the officers allow you to inform a trusted friend or a family member or a lawyer, soon after your arrest in order to avoid unnecessary apprehension as to your whereabouts or safety.
If the arrest requires the officer to conduct a search on you, demand to see the Search Warrant and comply with all legitimate instruction during the search (Note that there are a lot of instances where a policeman can search you with or without warrant)
You may politely request that the officer be searched before searching you. Often times, this helps to allay fears that someone may be trying to “plant” incriminating items on you or implicate you in any other way.
Don’t obstructively interfere or intervene when a third party is being arrested. Be careful as you may not know the details and seriousness of the charge against the person.
Do not use your phone indiscriminately while being arrested.
Willingly follow the officers to the station. It may be indicative that you have nothing to hide. In addition, this voluntary action of yours will eliminate any possibility of the arresting Officer resorting to the use of “Minimal or Reasonable force” to elicit your compliance.
On a lighter note, but also seriously speaking, every encounter with the police, including an arrest/invitation scenario is an opportunity to learn more about the Police, the security community, your rights and privileges & make friends with them. Please make effective use of it!