The new Financial Year July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 is barely a week old and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority has embarked on preparing a performance report (January – June 2022), showing the number of complaints received, investigations handled and inspections conducted, among other areas of assessment.
Until then, IPOA presents a recap of the preceding report covering six months, from July 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.
- 141 cases in courts of law as of December 31, 2021
- 118 court cases were directly investigated by the Authority
- 23 court cases were investigated by the police but under the watch of the Authority
- 5 cases disposed of in court and officers convicted
- 415 case files were completed and recommendations made
- 76 case files were recommended for closure
- 116 case files were forwarded to ODPP for independent review and further direction
Some 1,489 complaints were received by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, from July 1 to December 31, 2021, triggering off a series of investigations into the conduct of police officers across the country.
The complaints range from rape, defilement, murder, robbery with violence, shootings, assaults, inhuman treatment, illegal detentions, torture, to fabrication of evidence, among other ills.
Aggrieved members of the public were largely the source of the complaints, while other grievances and reports were received from institutions and police themselves.
Moreover, the Authority also instituted investigations on its own motion – by picking matters of violations through other means other than those either reported or referred to the Authority.
During the period under review, the Authority not only launched fresh investigations but continued efforts to conclude other case files opened earlier and in total 415 case files were completed, with varying recommendations.
The report recommended that seventy-six (76) of the investigations files be closed for various reasons, while 116 others, were forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Ordinarily, investigation files forwarded to the ODPP contain recommendations informed by particular cases and range from, charging suspects in court, opening public inquests in court to exonerating persons investigated, among others.
The law empowers the DPP to make independent decisions after reviewing investigation files, the recommendations notwithstanding.
The ODPP’s decision is made on the strength of the evidence contained in case files; that it meets the legal threshold required to sustain a trial in a court of law.
However, not all complaints received are disposed of through the ODPP; the bulk of the complaints received are resolved by the Authority acting as an intermediary, to the satisfaction of the complainants and are therefore not escalated to prosecution.
By the end of the review period, there were 141 cases in various stages of trial in courts of law, involving police officers whose conduct fell short of the accountability barometer across the country.
The court cases include one hundred and eighteen (118) which the Authority investigated directly while the other twenty-three (23) were instituted by police after investigating their colleagues, but under the watch of IPOA.
After lengthy trial processes, during which the prosecution argued the cases in court and the defence given an opportunity to counter the evidence adduced against them, the courts disposed of five cases and convicted the officers accordingly.
The remaining cases were continuing at different stages of trial by the end of the year, December 31, 2021.
It is a statutory demand that the Authority publishes, and publicizes half-year performance reports.
“The Authority should submit to the Cabinet Secretary, at least once in every six months, a report of the performance in its functions, making such recommendations as it may consider necessary, and the Cabinet Secretary shall, within 14 days after receiving such report, cause it to be published and laid before the National Assembly.”
Read the full report in pdf: Performance Report July 1 – December 31 2021