Police Sensitise Nigerians On ‘Suicide By Cop’

Spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has reiterated the need for Nigerians to be abreast with the concept of ‘Suicide by Cop’, especially with the reported events of assault on officers in Lagos State.

Adejobi had earlier mentioned the concept on August 26, after one Billy Tokunbo was captured in a viral video manhandling a police officer in Lagos, for reasons never disclosed to date. The officer, however, remained calm all through the incident.

Reacting to the incident, Adejobi tweeted, “That is what we call ‘Suicide by Police’, many want to die, but want to connect their deaths to police action. The policeman was just being careful because of social media posts, if not he would have reacted in an unprofessional way.”

To further buttress the concept, Adejobi in a series of tweets on Tuesday noted that many Nigerians are “ready to die but want a cop or cops to kill them”, adding that they frustrate cops to pull the trigger or kill them via any means.

He noted that the situation is a global phenomenon that has been domesticated, and there was a need to enlighten the public on anger management to avoid casting blame on police officers.

Suicide By Cop (SbC) Explained

The term, also known as Suicide by Police, was coined over 30 years ago by Karl Harris, a psychologist and former police officer in California who later worked as a counsellor on a helpline for suicidal people.

A 2009 study in the United States profiled 268 people to have committed suicide by cop, 95 per cent of who were men with a mean age of 35 years while five per cent were female.

According to a Police Executive Research Forum, SbC is either planned or spontaneous.

By Plan, the research revealed that a person may have been nursing suicidal thoughts for a period and decides that he/she wants to die, but cannot bring himself to take their life. So, the subject creates an incident in which there is an attempt to force a police officer to use lethal force.

Also, an indicator of spontaneity is when the subject was not thinking about committing SbC, but decides to do so spontaneously. The research noted that such usually occurs in response to how the police handle the situation.

“For example, in response to an officer pointing a firearm at the subject, the subject walks or runs toward the officer, brandishing a knife,” the research revealed.

Other researchers traced the demographics of persons in SbC cases to include mental illness more of which are connected to depression and bipolar disorder.

According to a world population review published in 2022, Nigeria ranked eighth among the top 10 countries with the highest number of police killings in the world. The report noted that the data was the most recent annual data as Nigeria recorded 841 killings as of 2018.

Although there has been no public report of SbC before 2022 in Nigeria, the recent ‘assault’ by Tokunbo and popular Nigerian Rap artist, Ice prince, may have incited the new release by the Nigeria Police.

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