It will take quite some time before the national police corps end savouring all the merits of the recent texts signed by the Head of State and Supreme Police Chief.
In one swoop of sorts, President Biya addressed virtually all the grievances that had been rocking the corps for a very long time. It is probably this state of hopelessness and a feeling of neglect that many policemen and women brandished each time to explain their less-than-average performance and the many reprehensible acts of the police as well as the poor image the Cameroonian police corps conveyed in the eyes of ordinary citizens.
If you cornered a policeman of womaninto a sincere conversion complaints about poor pay and other emoluments and service advantages, uncertain career profiles, corruption and nepotism, bullying by seniors, poor clothing, risky assignments, early retirements and poor consideration by peers of other armed services were some of the most current frustrations. Now, these things are all sad memories of a past many would want to quickly forget.
Take clothing. The ragtag image portrayed by many policemen wearing washed out uniforms is being radically cleansed as they are now guaranteed all that is needed in terms of outfit and other necessary gear with a supply system that respects a laid down sequence. Other innovative moves to stir output and respect include more rigorous training, programmes and academic requirements for entry into the various grades while a new superior police college is being introduced to emphasise a highly academic and research component being given to the police corps so that policemen and women are also involved in high-level policy formulation in the area of internal security.
There are many other advantages the Cameroonian police will henceforth have to enjoy, least of which is not the taking up of the retirement age to 60 years for Commissioners, Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents and to 55 years for Inspectors and Constables. The overall aim of the reforms, as has been explained by the Corps Chief Martin Mbarga Nguele, is to respond to a legitimate demand by the police who, even in the eyes of ordinary citizens, were having less than what they deserved. The Sunday-best posture the government has put them into will definitely raise morale and citizens can legitimately expect better services from their police force.