The Nigeria Police force was established back then in 1930 in Imo State, southeastern Nigeria, 30 years before the country’s independence from Britain. The Force started with just a few officers, but has grown today into an institution with over 350,000 officers as well as 36 commands spread across each state in the country.

The commands are grouped into twelve different zones, and these zones are controlled by 7 different administrative organs. There are different officers and cadres in the Force. However, in this article, we will be talking about the DPO.

Meaning Of DPO In Nigeria Police Force

First of all, you must know that the meaning of DPO in Nigeria police force is Divisional Police Officer. It is necessary to first explain that the major function of a DPO is to oversee the affairs of a particular police station in a particular place. 

However, many people are not aware of this, as they grew up hearing the “DPO” thing. 

For proper understanding, let’s explain with stuffs that can be easily related to. A huge company with several branches in different parts of the country will definitely appoint several managers for each of the branches. The managers will be tasked with the responsibility of administering the branch they were sent to, but won’t lose connection with the headquarters. So, although the manager of a particular branch is the head of that branch, he is still under his bosses at the headquarters. 

So is it with the Nigeria Police Force. The DPO is appointed to serve as the overseer of a particular police station, but he is under the higher ranking officers at the top (such as the Commissioner of Police, the Inspector General, and so on). 

In fact, the bigger guys are the ones who appointed him in the first place. You should know by now that the rank of the Inspector-General of Police is the highest rank in the Force. The man, who is usually appointed by the President of the country, is the one in charge of the Police Force in general (and he briefs the President of the affairs of the Force). He is constitutionally backed to be in charge and administer the force, to the lowest ranking officer through the chain of command in the Force. 

Functions of DPO In The Nigeria Police Force 

  1. Ensuring The Smooth Operations Of The Station He Overseas 

If the Commisoner of Police of a State has a reason to require a report from a particular police station, the DPO is the primary contact, and he is the one expected to give account for the activities of the station and his boys. 

Therefore, nothing significant can be done at the station without the approval of the DPO. He ensure the smooth running of the station’s activities 

  1. He Is The Delegated Leader Of The Station 

The DPO is the “main man” in a particular police station, and all officers serving in that particular station are subjected to him. They receive orders from him, and must carry out his instructions without delay. He is the “boss” at the domain, even though he also have his own bosses in higher settings. 

  1. Ensuring Discipline In The Station 

The position of a DPO is an important one that can determine a lot of things. If a DPO is smart, he will enforce smartness in the Station he was assigned to. If he has a penchant for smart dressing, it is unlikely that his boys will be allowed to dress anyhow on duty. So, perhaps, as a citizen of Nigeria, when you noticed that the police in your area are usually dressing smartly and sharply, the DPO might be the major reason behind it. 

If a DPO is a very brave individual who has zero tolerance for robbery and other forms of crimes, it will reflect on the vicinity he is serving, as the crime rate of that place will be reduced to the lowest level. 

In the same vein, if you observed that the Police Station in your vicinity is very corrupt, perhaps they always insist on bribes – both inside the Police Station and outside (particularly at checking points), the DPO should be examined. It was made known that some DPOs have their own cut of the money their boys makes via corrupt practises. 

Therefore, one of the easiest ways to ensure proper behavior in the police force is the stationing of right-thinking DPOs who can enforce proper discipline and behavior in his domain. The Inspector General of police is just an individual who can’t be everywhere at the same time. So, even if he has the best intentions, if DPOs assigned to various vincinties are not upright, the image of the Police Force will be tarnished continuously. 

Thus, a DPO is ordinarily sent to a station with the expectations of ensuring discipline. 

  1. Motivating and Managing Officers Under His Control

The DPO is a leader, and there are some leadership skills required if organisational goals are to be achieved. Of course, the station consists of various officers with various character, knowledge and beliefs. Therefore, as a leader, the DPO must devise ways to carry everyone along. He must learn to motivate everyone and bring out the best in them 

He is meant to serve as an adequate example to the men under him. The DPO should be accountable and transparent in his dealings – both with the citizens around and with his men. He is to ensure the well-being of his men, so they can always carry out their duties adequately. 

  1. Correcting Deviations From The Force’s Goals

The DPO must do all it takes to ensure the image of the Force won’t be tarnished and rubbished in a particular vicinity. He is to play his own role in contributing to the growth of the general body of the Nigerian Police Force, and this must be done through intentional actions which should be beneficial to the residents. 

As stated earlier, there are different types of people in the police. Some joined for ulterior and wrong motives, and will indulge in wrong things that is contrary to the aims of the Force. The DPO must ensure correction – including punishing offenders 

In conclusion on the functions and meaning of DPO in Nigeria Police Force, serving as a Divisional Police Officer is a very important duty that can determine a lot of things – either positive or negative (both for the reputation of the Nigeria police force, as well as the security of the country). Hence, the advice will always be that only officers of good standing should be given the task. 

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