Assessing the effectiveness of community policing as a strategy for crime prevention

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Every society needs a strong and effective police force to maintain law and order, to promote peace and harmony and to secure lives and properties. The police force is not only central to individual self-actualization, but also to social cohesion, economic development and democratic consolidation (Wabara in Alemika and Chukwuma 2004).
The Nigeria Police is by law charged with the responsibility of preventing and detecting crime, preserving peace and order and enforcing all laws and regulations. The duties placed on the Police are indeed overwhelming. The task is even more daunting in a growing democracy like ours, presently confronted with challenges of nurture and sustainability of the democratic process.
Given the magnitude of the challenges facing the Nigeria Police, it is encouraging to note the willingness of the Police authority to work with other stakeholders in order to properly address issues of crime and policing in Nigeria (Obasanjo in Alemika and Chukwuma 2004). The history of community police relation in Nigeria has been described as frosty as the idea of policing imposed on the country by the colonial masters was calculated to foster an antagonism between the policed and the police (Alemika and Chukwuma, 2000; Onoja, 2007; Tamuno, 1970).
Rotimi (2001) explicates the reasons for the police-citizens feuds in the colonial times and notes that since the police stood as the symbol of authority, which were responsible for the enforcement of most government policies like the collection of taxes and enforcement of traffic regulations, they were usually at loggerheads with members of the public. Unfortunately, the no-love lost relationship between the police and the public extends to the post-colonial era.
Relationships between the Nigerian police and citizens are largely characterized by suspicion, prejudice, mutual disrespect, conflict and violence (Alemika and Chukwuma, 2000). It has equally been noted that it will be very difficult for any police organization to succeed in its objective of maintenance of law and order without the cooperation of the people being policed. To solve this dilemma, therefore, there must be not only a cordial relationship between the police and the citizens, but also be a working partnership between them if the laudable goals are to be achieved.
Community policing is emerging as a promising complementary approach to more traditional forms of policing. By bringing the police closer to the people and developing partner relations with citizens, this approach aims at restoring trust between civilians and the police and at gaining community support for police reform, especially in settings where the police forces are perceived as brutal, corrupt and unaccountable. This can be especially important in post-conflict countries where confidence has been lost in conflict.
The United States’ Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) defines Community Policing as ‘a policing philosophy that promotes and supports organizational strategies to address the causes and reduce the fear of crime and social disorder through problem-solving tactics and police/community partnerships. ’ Community policing involves a cooperative effort on both the community and the police, with the police engaging in pro-social activities to enhance the well-being of the community and the community taking an active role in helping the police carry out law enforcement activities.
Through this reciprocal and beneficial interactions, community policing is meant to improve poor police-community relations and increase the responsiveness of police services to the community needs by identifying in partnership issues within the mandate of the police that need to be addressed at the community level (Liou and Savage in Chene 2012) Community policing entails community partnership in creating a safe and secure environment for all.
It is policing whereby the people take active part in their own affairs. With community policing, the police is not seen as a stranger whose presence stands for danger and imminent hazard but as partners in development. The unfriendly nature of the relationship between the police and members of the public has enjoyed a wide coverage among scholars. It was in reaction to this development that the concept of community policing was introduced.
This is particularly the case in Nigeria where the informal ethnic militia groups contested policing space with the Nigerian police in the early years of the Fourth Republic which began in May 1999 (Ikuteyijo, 2009) In Nigeria, community policing was introduced into selected pilot in 2004 as an effort to address mutual antagonisms that had developed between the public and the police forces. Numerous studies conducted on the police-public relations in Nigeria had revealed that the public had no confidence in the Nigeria Police Force, which was perceived as brutal, corrupt and ineffective by the
community (Olusegun, 2009). 1. 2 Statement of the Problem In today’s Nigeria, the Police is faced with the challenge of combating Crime and a myriad of other related problems such as internal terrorism which has been added to this list lately. The Nigeria Police is however constrained by its limited budget to look alternative means of carrying out its statutory responsibilities. Not only this, the cost of governance has increased lately making the government to cut down budgets of its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in a bid to stay afloat. 1. 3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to find out how effective community policing as a strategy for Crime prevention has worked in Kaduna and how this has also improved the level of community safety in Kaduna as well as the level of public confidence in and support for the Nigeria police as an law enforcement organization. Another purpose for carrying out this study is to seek out ways through which Nigeria can build a police organization that is transparent, fair, neutral, accountable and responsive to public perceptions and expectations through a robust police-communities relations.
The Nigeria Police, owing to its antecedents has been disconnected from the people and this even made worse in view of the dwindling resources allocated to the organization and the fact that it has to contend with more challenges given the increasing number of Crimes in the society everyday, the new dimensions being added to these Crimes and the increasing demand for the organization to perform. This study is aimed at fashioning out ways through which community-policing could bring the police and the communities it serve to work more closely together by first removing the impediments that have hitherto hindered same from being fully achieved.
This study intends to point out the likely challenges to be faced in the march towards a Crime free society via a robust police-community relation and the ways to tackle them. 1. 4Research Questions This research is design to answer the following questions: How effective have community-policing help in preventing Crimes in Kaduna? What is the level of awareness of the public concerning the role of police in preventing and combating crime? How robust and cordial is the relationship between the people and the police in Kaduna? How often do people report unusual happenings in their neighbourhood to the police?
What is the level of community involvement in the fight against Crime in Kaduna? What are the role of police in preventing and combating crime in Kaduna? How to improve community policing in Kaduna state? What influence does the corrupt nature of some police have to community policing in Kaduna. 1. 5 Significance of the study The significance of this study is add more to the existing researches and as well to strengthen facts and records as to why Community Policing is important and the and reasons that often lead to decline in Community Policing Management among the stakeholders in Nigeria.
Moreover, the study is set to examine both the negative and positive effects of Community Policing as it affect the development of this country. Meaningful developments can only be achieved and sustained if and only if the security of lives and properties are guaranteed, and such can be achieved if information is managed positively. For some time, crimes including Armed Robbery, Theft, Vandalism, Murder, Economic crimes, among others have been committed due to inefficient community policing. In this study, attention is given and focused on how community policing has effects on the development of the country.
Therefore, it is of utmost significance to further unearth the causes and reasons for such decline in community policing and its effects on the development of Nigeria. Meanwhile, the study will be of immense importance to stakeholders of the community, which are Nigerians in general. 1. 6 Scope of the Study 1. The scope of this study is on effectiveness of Community Policing as a Strategy for Crime Prevention in Nigeria, the causes of crime as well as the role of the community in combating the crime, especially Kaduna state.
Communities have gradually over time, abdicated their role in peace keeping and law enforcement and have place same in the hands of the police with the expectations that it will take on these responsibilities which is citizen’s civic duty. To achieve peace and security, requires that the police and the community must work together to define and develop solutions to problems of crime and deviance. This is because crime prevention is a two way relationship involving the police and the community.
The effectiveness of the Nigeria Police depends on how well it carries out its traditional role of combating or preventing Crime, a role that has been put to test lately by not only the outrageous number of Crimes that are committed daily but as well the dimensions these Crimes are now assuming. In the face of all these challenges, the Police must strive to put to use other international best practices aimed at making it achieve its objectives. Community policing is seen as one such measures that will help the Police in its quest to rid society of Crimes and Criminals as well as the consequences.
This study is focused on how effective Community Policing has helped the Nigeria Police Kaduna State Command achieve its objectives within the period 2001-2012. 1. 7Research Method This research work rely mainly on primary and secondary sources of data. Structured through the use of Questionnaires which was administered administered to the responding public eliciting their views on salient areas of the subject and was analysed by analyzed using simple percentages, charts and proportions. The secondary sources shall include: books, Journals, Magazines and Newspaper articles and the use of Internet.
1. 8Operational Definition of Terms i. Assessment: A judgment about something based on the understanding of the situation. ii. Community: A group of people with common interests or with shared interests within society. iii. Community-Policing: Entails community partnership with the Police in creating a safe and secure environment for all. iv. Crime: An action created by law or a failure to act as required by law. v. Effectiveness: Working to produce the result that is needed or intended. vi. Policing: The activity of keeping law and order in a place by the police.
vii. Prevention: The act of stopping something bad (Crimes) from happening. viii. Strategy: A carefully devised plan of action to achieve a goal or the art of developing or carrying out a plan. CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW 2. 0INTRODUCTION 2. 1THE CONCEPT OF SECURITY Security is a very significant concept that lies at the heart of the very basis of human existence and its growth. The concept enjoys so much debate as to what its constituents are and by implication what it’s really all about.
Those that look at it, from the human security sense of the word, see it more holistically and argue along that path than others who see it from a narrow perspective. According to Imobighe (1990), broadly conceived, security has to do with “freedom from danger or threats to a nation’s ability to develop itself, promote its cherished values and legitimate interests and enhance the well-being of the people. ” Implied in this definition is the fact that security manifests at the levels of nation-states, individuals etc.
and also has internal dimensions. The South Africa White Paper on Defence (1996) tries to run away from narrowing the concept. To them Security can also be defined as: …….. an all-encompassing condition in which Individual citizens live in freedom, peace and Safety; participate fully in the process of governance; Enjoy the protection of fundamental rights; have Access to resources and the basic necessities of life; And inhabit an environment which is not detrimental to their health and wellbeing.
The UNDP human development report (1994) raised this concern when it posited that: the concept of security has for too long been interpreted narrowly as security of territory from external aggression, or as protection of national interests in foreign policy or as global security from the threat of a nuclear holocaust. It has been related more to nation-state than people….. forgotten were the legitimate concerns of ordinary people….
for many of them, security symbolized protection from the threat of disease, hunger, unemployment, crime, social conflict, political repression, and environmental hazards Looking at it from a narrow point of view, a United Nations study defined security as a condition that prevents unauthorized persons from having access to official information that is safeguarded in the interest of national security or it can be a measure taken by military unit, activity or installation to protect itself against all acts designed to impair its effectiveness (Gurama 2010).
Wolfers (1962) stated that: “Security, in an objective sense, measures the absence of threats to acquired values, in a subjective sense, the absence of fear that such values will be attacked”. To Jose and Stevens (2009): Security is the need to feel safe, to feel assured that they know what is going to happen, to know ahead of time what the plans are what constitutes Security can be different for different people. 2. 2THE NEED FOR SECURITY To different people and organizations the need for security stems from different reasons.
Whichever angle we look at it, we would see that it is a necessity that cannot be pushed aside with the wave of the hand. Thomas Hobbes had made an impassioned case for state organization and order when he surmised that the absence of a sense of organized security could lead to the following situation: “Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same is consequent to the time where men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal.
In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all; continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
” (Reuben Abati 2010). Olujinmi (2005) agreed with the above assertion when he submitted that: criminality is part and parcel of human nature and society. That is ‘why no society can claim to be completely free of crimes and hence the need for security {words in italics mine}. Senator Adolphus Wabara (2005) in his presentation at a national summit on crime and policing in Nigeria said: “every society needs a strong and effective police force to maintain law and order, to promote peace and harmony and to secure lives and properties”.
So the police force is not only central to individual self-actualization, but also to social cohesion, economic development and democratic consolidation (Alemika and Chukwuma 2005). 2. 3SECURITY AS A RIGHT Provision of security by the State to its citizens is a right guaranteed under the constitutions of most States/countries of the modern world. Odinkalu (2005) captured this in his submission thus: The entitlement of
human beings and communities everywhere should take such measures as they see it fit to safeguard themselves against threat to human society. Human safety and security are thus human rights with a value of their own and an instrumental function in the construction of human contentment and prosperity. This right pre-dates the institutionalization of the police and other uniformed institutions, which in turn post-dates the emergence of the contemporary State system and notions of sovereignty.
Balogun (2003) in a paper presented on electoral violence and national security said: A major goal of any civilized society is to ensure that law and order is maintained thereby guaranteeing the general security of the citizenry and ensuring public tranquility. Chapter II, Section 14 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 states inter alia (a) The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. (b) The participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with provisions of this Constitution.
In accordance with this Constitutional provision, the governments of Nigeria have the responsibility to cater for the security and welfare of Nigerians, and also to ensure that Nigerians freely participate in their governments. The basic form of such participation is the exercise of the right to vote. Therefore any situation that obstructs any citizen from exercising his civic and constitutional rights of voting and be voted for must be taken as a violation of his civic and Constitutional right to freedom of expression.
Otubu and Coker (2006) put it more succinctly by positing that security of lives and property is a fundamental human right guaranteed under the 1999 constitution of Nigeria. Efforts have been made by successive administrations, especially since 1999 to provide this. Oshio (2009) states that normally, citizens expect their governments to provide them with political stability and socio-economic security, including employment, healthcare and shelter, the non-fulfillment of which breeds discontent and social unrest or even serious political challenge.
2. 4THE CONCEPT OF NATIONAL SECURITY Every nation of the world today tries to protect and ensure the safety and her people and their property. Thus Onuoha (2008) sees national security as “the capacity of a state to promote the pursuit and the realization of the fundamental needs and vital interests of man and society and to protect them from threats which may be economic, social, environmental, political, military or epidemiological. ” The jurisprudence of national security or state security etc.
resolves itself into a consideration of competing interests of the individual, the state or community. And the philosophy of national security is encapsulated in the maxim: (Salu populist est suprema lex) meaning that the safety of the nation is the supreme law. This is so because all the rights of the individuals depend for their very existence upon the continuance of organized political society, the continuance of that society itself depends upon national security, for without national security any society is in danger of collapse or overthrow.
The primary objective of Nigeria’s National Security Policy according to former President Olusegun Obasanjo shall be to: strengthen the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to advance her interests and objectives, to contain instability, control crime, eliminate corruption, enhance genuine development, progress and growth, and improve the welfare and well being and the quality of life of every citizen (Grand strategy for national security 2001.
) According to Imobighe (1990), Internal security may be conceived as the Freedom from or the absence of those tendencies which could attenuate internal cohesion and the corporate existence of the nation and its ability to maintain its vital institutions for the promotion of its core values and socio-political and economic objectives, as well as meet the legitimate aspirations of the people. Finally, internal security also implies freedom from danger to life and property and the presence of a conducive atmosphere for the people to pursue their legitimate interests within the society. 2. 5SECURITY AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Governments of nations the world over aspire to have their countries rank among the highest in terms of development in all its ramifications. According to Oshio (2009), rapid economic development and social well-being constitute the development imperative of developing countries of the world and indeed, remain the normative goal of the international community. This involves the attainment of sufficient levels of economic growth to allow for a progressive improvement in the material standard of living of the populace. He went further to say that: it is meaningless to talk of development in the absence of national security.
In other words, insecurity in a nation is a threat to development Katsina (2009) observed the relevance of internal (national) security to any country’s sustainable development has never been questioned. This is because without an enabling environment in which production, industrial activities and trade can take place and prosper; development would forever remain elusive. To achieve this, states, world over, devise security strategies and policy frameworks that ensure adequate security for their citizens and their properties While to Gurama (2010), Security is the backbone of any society.
It is tied to its social, political, economic and cultural growth. Negligence of this vital ingredient of development has led to all manner of social ills, including violent crimes such as armed robbery, ritual killings, child trafficking and other crimes. United Nations (2004) stated that: “in the twenty-first century, all States and their collective institutions must advance the cause of larger freedom- by ensuring freedom from want freedom from fear and freedom to live in dignity. In an increasingly interconnected world, progress in the areas of development, security and human rights must go hand in hand.
There will be no development without security and no security without development. ” Arase and Iwuofor (2007) observed that it is well recognized all over the world that peace and security of life and property are the primary conditions for progress and development of any society. 2. 6THREATS TO INTERNAL SECURITY OF NIGERIA Nigeria, like most countries of the modern world is plagued by a myriad of problems the list of which is unending. Notable among these problems is the issue of threats to internal security. Ogundiya (2009) opined that Nigeria is a state under perpetual internal security threat.
At a more general level the threat has social, economic, political and environmental dimensions. Each of these dimensions, singly and conjointly, greatly affects the nation’s stability and well-being. Threats to human and national security ranges from the menace of separatist demands, illegal militia armies, ethnic and religious conflicts, terrorism, armed robbery, corruption and poverty to sabotage of public properties, economic sabotage and environmental degradation. Among these, ethno-religious fighting and violent attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta forms the major security dilemma.
The predominant threats and security challenges in the area are emanating from un-abating attacks on oil installations, arm proliferation, sea piracy, youth restiveness, bunkering, kidnap and hostage taking. Abdulsalam (2005) tries to look at these security threats in relation to Nigeria’s nascent democracy and he said: some of the major security problems currently confronting the nation have been identified to include: political and electioneering conflicts, socio-economic agitations, ethno-religious crises, ethnic militias, boundary disputes, cultism, criminality and organized crimes.
These problems individually and collectively constitute threats to the peace, security and development of the country. Invariably, they have implications for the continuity and survival of the nation’s nascent democracy. There have been several ethno-religious conflicts in the history of Nigeria, but in recent times, these problems appear to be escalating at an intolerable scale. Ethnic and the foregoing problems and criminal activities individually and collectively create insecurity and breach of the peace that are likely to or indeed affect legitimate social and economic activities in the country.
Oshio (2009) on his part posited that: It needs no citation of authority to establish the overwhelming presence of crime and violence in Nigeria today. Despite various laws (old and new) armed robbery, ethnic/communal clashes, religious riots and upheavals leaving many dead and others maimed and homeless are the order of the day. Many Nigerians have fallen to the assassins’ bullets/letter bombs. Others have been kidnapped and only released on huge ransom which re-payment they may not be able to achieve for the rest of their lives.
From Dele Giwa, Bola Ige, and recently Ohu, all security agencies Police, SSS, army etc. have not been able to unravel the whereabouts of the assassins. Kidnapping has become a very fast-growing industry enriching the criminals with millions of Naira on daily basis. 2. 7SOME MAJOR SECURITY THREATS IN NIGERIA 2. 7. 1 CIVIL DISTURBANCES Civil disturbances occur when a group of individuals disrupt essential functions, damage property, or threaten the well being of other individuals. Large-scale civil disturbances rarely occur.
Situations that spawn civil disturbances include: Labour disputes with a high degree of animosity between the dissenting parties; High profile or controversial judicial proceedings; Implementation of controversial laws or other governmental actions; Resource shortages because of catastrophic events; Disagreements between special interest groups; Perceived unjust death or injury of a person held in high regard by a particular segment of society. Civil disturbances can expand to cover large portions of a community and include individuals not associated with the initial conflict.
Areas particularly vulnerable to civil disturbances include government buildings, military installations, universities, controversial businesses, service providers, and critical service facilities such as police and fire stations. Sports arenas and facilities for large gatherings can also be vulnerable. Prison uprisings are also a form of civil disturbance. Response to and recovery from civil disturbances involves many community agencies and the general public corporations . 2. 7. 2 ROBBERY Robbery is a regular feature of every human society, even among animals, robbery takes place.
Robbery is the crime of seizing property through violence or intimidation. This is different from embezzlement, larceny, and theft. Piracy is a type of robbery. Armed robbery involves the use of a weapon. Highway robbery takes place outside and in a public place. Robbery is generally an urban crime. Carjacking is the act of robbing a car from a victim, usually at gunpoint. Robbery can also be seen as the taking or attempting to take something of value from another by violence or the threat of violence.
Robbery can be committed against individuals, businesses, and institutions like banks. It is a felony in all states. Threatening people on the streets with a baseball bat and demanding all their money and jewelry is robbery, even if the person is not injured. Pushing an elderly woman down on the sidewalk to steal her purse is also robbery. 2. 7. 3 THEFT It actually involves act of making unlawful claims over someone else’s property or “illegal taking of another person’s property without the person’s freely-given consent”.
Ordinarily, the term theft is used to describe some other criminal acts that relate to illegal acquisition of another person’s property or acts of stealing like burglary, larceny, looting, fraud and embezzlement, to mention a few. Theft can be perpetrated in various ways. 2. 7. 4ARSON Arson can be described to mean a deliberate act of destructively setting another person’s or one self’s property on fire for specific motives. For instance, someone can decide to set his/her property on fire with the criminal intention of illegally getting claims from the insurance company.
Most times this crime is usually perpetrated by one party against another party. 2. 7. 5 KIDNAPPING The incidence of kidnapping has become a grave security threat both locally and internationally. Many families have lost their loved ones through the dastardly acts of kidnapping. Apart from loss of lives, kidnapping also has implications on the economy of the state as well as that of individuals. At this point, let us quickly look at some definitions of the term kidnapping. However, kidnapping can be described as a form security threat that involves: …
the taking away or exportation of a person against the person’s will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority. This may be done for ransom or in furtherance of another crime, or in connection with a child custody dispute. It can also be seen as:……the taking away of a person against the person’s will, usually to hold the person for ransom or in furtherance of another crime. In the terminology of the common law in many jurisdictions, the crime of kidnapping is labeled abduction when the victim is a woman.
The nefarious activities of some of the militants in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has actually made popular kidnapping as a source of making quick money. The problem is spreading fast to other regions of the country. 2. 8 ROLE OF NIGERIAN POLICE AND OTHER SISTER AGENCIES IN SECURITY MANAGEMENT The internal security of a nation is a vital ingredient for the effective working of its superstructures. The government recognized this hence the setting up of security and or law enforcement agencies that are charged with the responsibility of ensuring this.
The one time Inspector General of Police Sunday Ehindero (2006) said concerning law enforcement agencies that these: are agencies set up by law to maintain internal security of the state. At the inception of the political entity known today as Nigeria this function was bestowed on the Police force. To Ehindero (2006) the police: occupies a very important position in the maintenance of internal security in democratic society, hence they are given powers by an enabling statute to discharge their task and bring society to order to avoid anarchy and hardship.
Section 4 of Police Act cap 359 law of the Federation 1990 state the primary duty of the Nigeria Police, this include: i. Prevention and detection of crime ii. The Apprehension of offenders iii. Preservation of law and order iv. Protection of life and property v. The enforcement of all law vi. Regulation within which they are directly charge vii. Military duties within and outside Nigeria it may require by the Law. One time Senate President Adolphus Wabara (2006) understood the role of the police and its enormity when he asserted that: the role of the police in any human society is enormous.
Every society needs a strong and effective police force to maintain law and order, to promote peace and harmony and to secure lives and properties. So the police force is not only central to individual self-actualization, but also to social cohesion, economic development and democratic consolidation. ……….. The enormity of this task is underscored by the fact that the provision of security is one of the main functions of the state.
A state that cannot protect the lives and properties of its nationals is not entitled to their loyalty, it is well on the way to becoming a failed state. We all know that the implications of this are too grave to even contemplate. The former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo (2006) saw the enormity of the duties of the Police and submitted that: The Nigeria Police is by law charged with the responsibility of preventing and detecting crime, preserving peace and order and enforcing all laws and regulations. The duties placed on the Police are indeed overwhelmin

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