This project is the first component of “Speeding-Up Criminal Justice Project in Enugu State”. It is a pilot scheme and focuses on the time it takes for a criminal investigation to be completed by the police.
The time it takes for the police to complete their investigation and allow the case to move to the next step in the criminal justice process has been identified as one of the significant causes of delay.
Analysis of delays occurring at the police stage of the criminal justice process identified a number of root causes, including:
- Capacity of the police to carry out effective investigations, both in terms of resources (e.g. vehicles, scene of crime equipment etc.) and skills of investigating officers (evidence acquisition and handling, case building, analysis of data, etc.)
- Lack of effective and efficient systems for managing and monitoring cases, to ensure that investigations proceed in a timely and effective manner and are carried out in line with legal, policy and operational frameworks governing the work of the Nigeria Police Force.
- Lack of clear protocols and systems for communicating and co-operating with key stakeholders in the criminal investigation and prosecution process, including prosecutors, witnesses and experts such as medical practitioners and coroners.
Goal and Objectives
The Goal of the project is to speed up the time it takes the police to complete effective criminal investigations at the selected Police locations. They are as follows:
- To improve the capacity of the Nigeria Police Force to carry out investigations efficiently and effectively, in line with legal, policy and operational requirements.
- To improve the management and monitoring of casework, in relation to individual cases and overall caseloads.
- To improve cooperation and coordination between police investigation teams, Ministry of Justice Prosecutors and other key investigation stakeholders.
Strategy and Expected Activities
The programme proposes to support the pilot police locations in the following areas:
- Training and capacity building for investigators both in terms of technical skills and on legal/rights issues relevant to the investigations process. This includes basic investigation skills, case building, acquisition and analysis of evidence and preparation of case files. The training will also focus on the legal and rights aspects of investigation work (e.g. in relation to suspects) and where appropriate provide guidance on the investigation of crimes that may require specific skills, e.g. gender based crimes, crimes involving children, etc. This activity area is expected to include training, coaching, preparation of manuals and other guidance materials such as templates and checklists, etc.
- Assist the Nigeria Police Force to identify and analyse the gaps in resources that slow down investigations and identify means of filling those gaps. This might include working with the Nigeria Police Force on efficient allocation / management of existing resources, providing direct support and assisting the Nigeria Police Force to engage with other potential resource providers.
- Support the Nigeria Police Force to develop the fledgling case management system (CMS) so that it becomes an effective and valuable mechanism for tracking and managing the progress of cases both on an individual and overall basis.
- Training and capacity development for managers to enhance their ability to effectively manage and oversee investigation processes and case work.
- Support the Nigeria Police Force(NPF) and other stakeholders to develop partnership arrangements that enable the NPF to complete investigations more efficiently whilst at the same time meet the needs of the other stakeholders. An example is agreed protocols and closer and earlier working with MOJ prosecutors on cases where their involvement will be required. There will be a particular focus on encouraging all parties to see themselves as part of a team and to enhance communication systems.
- Support the Nigeria Police Force and other key actors to educate and sensitise the public on their role in helping investigations and encourage them to facilitate their speedy completion. This will enhance public support and improve understanding of citizens’ rights and responsibilities in relation to effective crime investigation.