According to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, the police force is an organization whose job is to keep public order, prevent and solve crime. As such, one can conclude that the police are, or ought to be a sacred, incorruptible and highly respected unit seeking to win the hearts and minds of the the public, while protecting it. That, of course, ties in with what Cameroon’s security bosses have called proximity policing.
When one monitors events in the country, one does fell concerned about one’s safety, for there are frequent cases of burglaries, hold-ups, murders and assassinations. Therefore one thing that Cameroonians needed most was assurance that the authorities are aware of the state of insecurity, and secondly that they are doing something about it. That has come from the new police boss, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo who has visited various sectors of the nation’s police force, taken note of their needs and given them words of encouragement. The Rapid Intervention Squared he installed here in Yaounde is now operational, with some 3000 calls already said to have been received at the monitoring and processing center. It is worth pointing out that the hotline can be reached by dialing the number 17 for fixed telephone callers and 117 for cellular ones.
The Delegate General has warned those who do not have their official identification papers to get them or face penalties. For foreigners, it is the different residential documents, and for Cameroonians, the National Identity Card. This has no doubt heightened the security alert in the country. It will be commendable if it stays at that level.
Nonetheless, the Delegate General must equally clearly, spell out the role of vigilante groups, commonly known in Cameroon as anti-gangs and tackle police corruption which regrettably mars the good work of the force.
Cameroon has taught the world how to play football. It can also teach the world how to police its police.