The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, has said policemen will undergo snap urine tests to ascertain signs of drug abuse before they can be issued firearms.
Arase spoke at the launch of drug testing kits and the campaign against the sudden death of officers in Abuja yesterday.
The programme was organised by the Police in collaboration with the Hypertension and Diabetes Awareness Foundation.
He said besides denying officers, who failed the test, access to firearms, the force would wean them from drugs or other psychological problems.
Arase noted that the killing of Nigerians from misapplication of firearms by policemen made the public to cast aspersions on the police.
“After an in-depth study, my team and I have found out that some of these fatal cases could be due to mishandling of firearms by police officers, who are psychologically unfit to handle firearms at that time.
“We have, therefore, decided that the medical assessment of persons we recruit into the Police will include a psychological assessment“, he said.
He said some of these psychological problems could also have resulted from drug abuse by a few of the officers.
Arase said the police also initiated a strategy to witness the transition of the police from relying on firearms to manage social disorders.
“Orders have been placed for this weaponry and adequate training framework is being put in place.
“My long term vision is to effectively address issues that engender misuse of firearms and give true meaning to our mandate of safeguarding the lives of our citizens,“he said.
He said the Police also decided to address the frequent sudden death of police officers from preventable or avoidable health challenges.
Arase said doctors had attributed such deaths to chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
He said following this discovery, the medical department had been directed to screen officers for the diseases.
“I encourage all men to come forward for health screening.
“Our medical section is well positioned to manage any health problems our officers and men may have,“he said.
The Force Medical Officer, AIG Adenike Abuwa, said the initiative was aimed at further protecting Nigerians from accidental discharge by officers.
Abuwa said a three-day capacity-building workshop for medical officers would hold at all police health facilities nationwide to improve mental care delivery in the police.
She said the sudden death programme was part of the police collective response to the growing prevalence of sudden death in the police community and Nigeria.
“In line with global best practices, this programme has been organised to educate police officers on healthy lifestyle and regular medical checkup.
“This initiative will ensure prompt identification and management of conditions that lead to non-communicable diseases among the police,“she said.
She also said the programme would be held at zonal and state commands to ensure that no officer is left out.
The highpoint of the occasion was the launch of the drug testing kits by Arase.