Public Perception Of Nigeria Police In Crime Prevention And Control.

August 13, 2017
August 15, 2017



The police institution is a generic human service establishment saddled principally with the task of safeguarding internal security and safety in almost civil societies. In Nigeria, the police are officials of government and society, responsible
for the prevention and control of crimes and disorders as well as the detection, apprehension and prosecution of perpetrators of crimes and violence in the country (Alemika, 1993). As such, there is probably no other security control organization
that has an intimate dealing with the large segment of the Nigerian populace as the police.
Essentially therefore, law enforcement or social control is the generally agreed responsibility of the Nigeria police. They must be available in case of need of almost any kind and demonstrate absolute commitment at all times to render the
best possible service to the public. Conversely however, the reverse is arguably the case in Nigeria.
The police and police work present an alternate image to the generality of the people in the country. This is because the police in Nigeria
have always been viewed and characterized as brutal, corrupt and ineffective (Iwah, 2013). The ordinary man on the street greets them with fear and
hatred, perceives them as inept and high-handed and never sees them as allies or friends of the people. The inappropriate policing styles and repressive possibilities often exhibited by them in the discharge of their great task of security
management have also not helped the matter. Thus, the prevailing belief is that the police is not likely to be effective in crime abatement,
prevention and control or at least reduce the incidence of crime in the community at large. On account of these, the Nigeria public is unwilling to cooperate with the police.
Defending the police performance in the country (Alemika, 2013) stated that a combination of structural, political and socio-economic and cultural factors as well as institutional inadequacies prevented the Nigeria Police Force from adequately performing their duties satisfactorily and in compliance with the rule of law at all time. These deficiencies are in fact responsible for the deepening crime rate in the country. (Dalhatu, 2013) reiterated that the Nigeria Police has a very serious image problem in the eyes of the public; it hopes to protect and serve. Throughout Nigeria history, the police had been a tool of the state, mistrusted and feared by the people instead of being friend to the general public. As such, the public at large still see the police as an instrument of the ruling class that are always ready to unleash terror at the slightest opportunity. Presently, Nigeria is suffering from a growing
crime-problem, which is progressively threatening its sovereignty, security and
development (Alemika, 2012). Despite the constitutional powers granted the police to maintain general security, public safety and peace, the quality of security provided by them has nothing to be proud of. Their roles in many cases denigrate the law, endangering the citizens and blotting the institutional reputation of the police that they represent.
1.1 Background Of The Study
The prevalence of crime in the world today is a cause for serious concern for all and sundry. It undermines the social fabric by eroding the sense of safety and security. Crime impacts on society in a variety of ways according to the
nature and extent of crime committed. It constitutes a problem when its incidence is so rampant in the society as to constitute a threat to the security of persons and property, as well as social order and solidarity (Onoge, O.O. 1988).  The costs of crime are tangible and intangible, economic or social, direct or indirect, physical or psychological, individual or community. In fact, it is from the cost that the consequences of crime are derived. The cost of crime can be incurred as a result of actual experience of criminal activities, when there is physical injury, when properties are stolen, damaged or destroyed. It could also be in the form of psychological and emotional pains as a result of shock due to the crime done against the victim. Also the cost of crime can be incurred in an attempt
to prevent or control crime. As a consequence of the prevalence of crime in society, the demographic composition may be altered through mass movement of people from crime-prone areas to areas perceived to be relatively
crime-free. This can also lead to brain-drain and other socio-economic problems.
Crime is a threat to the economic, political and social security of a nation and a major factor associated with underdevelopment; because it discourages both local and foreign investments, reduces the quality of life, destroys human and social capital, damages relationship between citizens and the states, thus undermining democracy, rule of law and the ability of the country to promote development.
Emile Durkheim considered crime to be an integral aspect of society and a “normal” social phenomenon in the sense that it has existed in all societies throughout history. Durkheim believe that mala prohibita crimes (crimes which violates social norms) functions in society as a means of defining the
limits of acceptable behaviour, serving as vehicle for social change by extending and testing those boundaries.
1.2 Statement Of Problem
The problems of Nigerian police in exercising its duties are both logistical and moral. Over the years in logistical terms, the force has maintained by the federal government has not had enough equipment. The quantity and quality of weapons, arms and ammunition available in most mobile squadron units in the country are hardly enough. There are some instances where the force cannot stand the counter firepower of armed bandits. In terms of human resources and strength, the Nigerian police is yet to have the strength that can adequately contain crime in country. Recruitment into the force has been epileptic. Losses of personnel through natural death, active service, retirement and disciplinary action have not been adequate replacement over the years. With regard to the standard laid by the United Nations ratio of one policeman to 400 citizens. Nigeria has not met the standard. The strength of the force, by the time the then Inspector General of Police Mr Musliu Smith assumed duty was under 120,000 (Nigeria Tribute 10th August, 2000). Okunola (1995) estimated the ratio of the police man to about 641 Nigerians. Which is not much improvement on ratio 1:980 as at 1979 (Danmadani, 1979).
The reward and pay structure of the force is also not encouraging compared to what it takes for one to lay down his/her life, the security is not available. The benefits are not attractive as revealed by Mr. Iwendi Haz, police public relation officer.
Within the force, there is no job satisfaction among the officers and men. This is, however, a function of low and inadequate remuneration, delayed promotion, and low rating of members of the force in the society. The police that are expected to engage in some fighting with criminals are no longer interested and have lost the zeal of serving the nation. Danamdani (1979) summarized factors that inhibit police in the successful performance of its functions to include,

  • inadequate manpower, both quantitatively and qualitatively,
    · excessive workload at station level,
    · lack of equipment
    · indolence, negligence and corruption
    · undue delay of cases referred for director of public prosecution’s advice
    · defective training programme, and
    · Ineffective management by officers holding supervisory responsibilities.
    The above factors among others contribute to inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the force.

Indeed, it appears that what is in Nigeria today is tantamount to a serious crime problem. The aims of this research are to examine the people’s perception of the police and crime prevention in Nigeria. From this broad objective, the study
seeks to explore the following specific objectives which are to:
(i) Determine the perception of public and police relationship in crime prevention
(ii) Identify the types of assaults suffered by the public from inappropriate policing
styles and strategies and
(iii) Assess the public perception of the effectiveness of police performance in
crime prevention and control
(iv) To examine the challenges facing the Nigeria police force in the discharge of its roles and functions in a democratic dispensation.
(v) To analyze the operations of the force over the years as well as its ineffectiveness and inefficiency in the areas of crime control in relation to the level of infrastructural development in society, as well as the quantum and quality of human resources available to the police
(vi) To educate members of the public on the role and powers of police, and the significance of public cooperation with police in order to promote an overall individual, community and national security.
(vii) To analyze a historical perspective of the Nigeria police force
(viii) To establish a bridge between the police and the community within which they operate.
(ix) To look into the following which contribute to and sustain corruption in the police force; poor conditions of service, tribalism, favoritism, indiscipline, inadequate and delayed payment of salaries, lack of basic working equipment and so on.
(x) To offer suggestions and recommendation on how to have a responsive police force in Nigeria.
1.4 Purpose Of The Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the relevance and adequacy of crime prevention and control in Mangu local government. In fact, the Nigeria police force was established to maintain law and order in the society, as well as prosecute offenders in the law courts. However, the incidence of crime in the country and Mangu local government in particular appears to be assuming a wider dimension and propensity. Based on the broad objective of the study and comprehensive review of the literature, the main hypothesis generated and tested for the purpose of the study is stated here-under:
Ho: Public support and cooperation are not likely to enhance police performance in crime management.
H1: Public support and cooperation are likely to
enhance police performance in crime management.
1.5 Significance Of Study
The main significance of this study is to examine the people perception of Nigeria police in crime and prevention control in Mangu local government. It will also examine the behavioural consequences of motivational impetus on the Nigeria police force. From the basic aim, the research seeks the following
(1) Knowing the societal perception of the Nigeria police and how it affects their behaviour of work.
(2) Examine the effect of the socio-economic characteristics of police officers on their ability towards curtailing crime.
(3) Highlighting the significant as well as the effects of the adequacy or otherwise of both the human and material resources needed to combat crime in our society.
(4) To final out the dominant needs of each category of police officers and their impacts on their attitude toward work.
Finally, to examine the environmental factors affecting the Nigeria police force operations in the state. Furthermore, this study may serve as a basis for further research on the activities of the Nigeria Police Force, most especially the relationship between the powers vis-à-vis other organizations like the courts, the prisons and the traditional institution.
1.6 Scope Of Study
The research covers the broad operational outline of people perception of Nigeria police force in crime prevention and control in Mangu local government.
It specifically looks at the operational setting of the police officers and men in Lagos state police command in the area of crime control.. It covers the activities of the police in the state as regard crime control from the period 2000 up to date. The study will assess the police force in the performance of its duties as stipulated in the constitution and other enabling laws. How does the police interact with the environment in the performance its duties? Are the enabling laws in favour of congenial police public relation? The studies will identity the factors that hinder the effectiveness of police force. Given the fact that the Nigeria police force has as one of its primary functions, the prevention and detection of crime in the society, the operational setting of police force is geared towards achieving this objective. It is worthy of note that the level of effectiveness of the state police command in crime control in Lagos state is a function of its organizational structure and management strategies, as well as its interaction with its social environment.
1.7 Definition of Terms

  1. Social Change: It is a variation from a previous mode of relationship of people in a society in which old ways of living and interacting gave way to new way. Nsereko (2000:210) sees social change as “change in the composition, practices and values of society.”
  2. Crime: Is any act or omission resulting from human conduct which is considered in itself or in its outcome to be harmful and which the state wishes to prevent, which renders the person responsible liable to some kind of punishment as the result of the proceedings which are usually initiate on behalf of
    the state and which are designed to ascertain the nature, extent and legal consequences of that person’s responsibility (Curzon 1973:11).
    Put Simply: Crime is any act or conduct which violates the criminal
    law of a society and which has a pre-determined punishment as a consequence for the violation (Igbo:1990:9). Crime may be violent or non-violent. It is violent when it is accompanied with physical harm or injury or threat to do so and nonviolent when these are absent.
    3. Arrest: In law, arrest is the restraining of the liberty of a person so that he/she shall be forth-coming to answer an alleged crime or an offence. Under sec. 5 of the criminal procedure Act, a person arrested shall be informed by the police officer or other person making the arrest the cause of his arrest, except if he/she is:-
    i. Caught while committing the offence
  3. Has escaped from lawful custody, or

iii. Pursued immediately and arrested while escaping after the commission of the offence. (Onah: 2004). Bohm & Haley (1999): define arrest as the seizing and detaining of a person by lawful authority.

  1. Social Disorganization: The condition in which the usual controls over delinquents are largely absent, delinquent behaviour is often approved of by parents and neighbors, there are many opportunities for delinquent behavior, and there is little encouragement, training, or opportunity for legitimate employment. (Bohm & Haley (1999).
  2. Social control: An organization that persuades people, through subtle and not so-subtle means, to abide by the dominant values of society (Bohm & Haley (1999), while Schaefer (2005): refer to social control as the techniques and strategies for preventing deviant human behavior in any society.
    6. Criminal Justice System: The criminal justice system is a legal entity, the interrelationships of criminal justice elements comprising of the police, courts and the prisons, or what the Americans would rather refer to as the correctional facilities.
    7. Punishment: Punishment is the price we pay for non-conformity to the expected and prescribed standards of behavior of a group or society. It is pain, suffering or deprivation imposed by a group or society on those who have disobeyed or violated the group’s laws.
  3. Corruption: Encarta World English Dictionary (1999) defines corruption as dishonest exploitation of power for personal gain.
  4. Colonialism: This refers to the period of British rule in Nigeria.
    10. Contemporary Nigeria: This refers to present day Nigeria.
    11. Crime control: This means all the steps and activities taken to prevent the spread and commission of crime.
  5. Crime prevention: Often used interchangeably with crime control refers to all efforts made to ensure that crime does not occur or is reduced to the barest minimum.
    13. Police: This refers to the branch of criminal justice system that fights against crime and maintain law and order.
  6. Policing: Any effort aimed at detecting and preventing crime as well as protection of lives and property. It can be done formally by state agents or informally by private citizens.

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