Why the police delay response to distress calls, by Dr Ukasha Ismail


Why the police delay response to distress calls, by Dr Ukasha Ismail

Why police delay response to distress calls has been a common and generic question that police bosses are being asked in Nigeria and elsewhere. Let me draw some answers to this question from personal experience.

Of course, the person or group in emergencies, especially being under attack by criminal or terrorist groups, would require the immediate appearance of the police at the scene. But, the police, in most instances, only comes after the attack. Several reasons are attributed to such delayed responses.

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Advancing into “live attack” require robust preparations that include the selection of the appropriate team, weapons and logistics to handle the situation, which depends on the intensity and tenacity of the adversaries, as reported.

Even if the police unit or office that received the distress call has the logistics, manpower and weaponry required, it takes time to analyse the report and measure the risks of engagement. Yes, analysing the report/call is very important because it may be misleading, exaggerated or underrated. We’ve had incidences where the criminals make the call to divert the attention of the police from where or who they want to attack.

The attackers could lay ambush knowing that police may arrive at the scene. This is why most distress calls at night are not responded to in time to avoid casualties from their side.

In most cases, the police receive such emergency calls when their operational vehicles do not have enough fuel or they are not serviceable to be used for such operations.

There is also the lack of armoured vehicles, which are suitable for distress calls to avert possible ambush attacks.

Lack of motivation amongst the striking team leads to delayed response and even non-response to emergency calls. Of course, every security operations involve a risk of death, but emergency response calls pose more due to the possibility to get into an ambush.

Dr Ukasha Ismail is a former police officer and currently a lecturer in the department of security studies at Federal University Dutse.


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