Did you know that you can ask to search a policeman?

The handle for the Nigerian Police Force – @PoliceNG (Twitter) has been sharing some helpful tips on how citizens should conduct themselves when relating with officers on duty.

The aim of this is to promote a cordial relationship between the people and the police officers. Here are the tips posted:

  • Do not resist arrest.

Allow the arrest to take place without any incident even if you believe the arrest is uncalled for or illegal as resisting arrest could lead to an encounter that might result in harm, injuries and/or permanent disabilities or even, death to the parties involved.

  • 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.

  • Police can search you on arrest

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.
– They 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.
– They may handcuff you if you are violent or show the propensity to escape

  • Fully disclose any health issues

Always let the officers know your health challenge (if any) after an arrest. This is important in case you may need immediate medical attention, particularly asthmatic patients, persons with a history of epilepsy, high blood pressure, diabetes especially those on insulin etc.

  • Demand to see a warrant

Demand to see the warrant of arrest where necessary, 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 however that not all invitation/arrest requires a warrant – there are also instances where officers can search you with or without a warrant). As a matter of fact, under our laws, the Police have wide powers to arrest without warrant in many circumstances. 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.

  • Inform a trusted friend, family member or lawyer

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.

  • No third party interference

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.

  • Actively comply

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.

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