Background of the Study
The International Code of Enforcement Ethics reveals the primary reason for establishing formal police system in any society thus: as a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind and property; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception; the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence and disorder; and to respect constitutional rights of all the men to liberty, equity and justice (Qadri, 2005). Admittedly, the main role of the police is to enforce law and order, safeguard lives and property, and render other essential services in the society. Put in a different way, fighting crimes and criminals is so difficult that the police and other law enforcement agencies alone cannot perform this task and achieve maximum positive results. Since the most visible part of criminal activities take place at the neighborhood level, policing agencies need public support and co-operation. Intensive partnership and collaborative efforts of both the formal and informal agents of social control remain preconditions for a possible near ‘crime-free’ society (a complete crime free society is utopia); in other words, the idea will lead to a great success in crime prevention and control in the community.
However, the police-public relationship has long been estranged, thereby making mutual supports very difficult to establish between the two social actors. That is, every effort to bring the police close to the public, and for community members to see the police as their friends, who require their assistance in policing the society that belongs to both of them, an end in futility. In essence, there must be a solution to this problem. According to Siegel (2008), “to remedy this situation while improving the quality of their services, police departments have experimented with new forms of law enforcement, referred to as community policing and problem-oriented policing”. From the same source, community policing is a style of policing that requires departments to reshape their forces into community change agents in order to work with citizens to reduce crime at the neighborhood level. Problem-oriented policing, on the other hand, is a proactive form of policing; rather than responding to crime after it occurs, police identify and respond to potential problems before they occur (Siegel, 2008). The art of community policing and problem-oriented policing are complementary, and none of these approaches can succeed in policing the community without the assistance and cooperation of the public. This is so because the most noticeable aspect of crime-transactions usually occurs at the community level where victims and their offenders live together.
Traditional societies, including Nigeria employed the system of ‘hue and cry’, which literally means angry protests embarked upon by a group of people over something, but contextually refers to a system of community policing whereby members of the community unite with State agents of social control to arrest criminals (Wrobleski & Hess, 2006). Specifically, African societies of old used their various traditional institutions to achieve and maintain maximum level of public safety, orderliness and conformity. With the passage of time, these institutions recorded wide-ranging progress and success in curtailing antisocial conducts by forming a synergy with the formal policing agencies, particularly the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) through community policing (Nnam, Agboti & Otu, 2013). Across cultures and civilizations, community-policing has always been emphasized, encouraged and recommended by individuals, State and non-State social control actors as well as crime scholars as a safety valve for effective policing of society. Community policing entails a systematic involvement and inclusion of credible local guards, vigilance groups, able-bodied civilian youths, and traditional rulers and chiefs into the conventional police subsystem for the purpose of achieving a far-reaching success in crime prevention and control at the grassroots. Neighbourhood watch, as community policing is known as in some quarters, describes a situation whereby or system in which the police and community members establish “citizen advisory committees that would open up channels of communication between police officers and the community” (Sykes, 1978). Citizen advisory committees are not only composed of police personnel, but also members of the business community, clergy, and some community leaders and members. All these community policing agents are duly recognized in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, as amended) and the 2004 Police Reform/Police Act, where the importance of this policing mechanism is acknowledged as a powerful tool for solving crime-problem in the country. Since that period, the country is still battling to embrace international best practice regarding policing. Hitherto, the Nigeria police is still developing strategies for improving its vision (modern community policing) by departing from the non-democratic platform where enforcement of law and order maintenance utilized coerciveness, brutality and disregard for fundamental human rights. The global community is transiting from traditional form of policing to a systematic and formalized community policing (Okiro, 2007). Of course, there is a paradigm shift from the traditional police system to community-participatory system, community policing. Community policing is a system that unites members of the society with police. It gets the community directly involved in solving both criminal and civil disorders and makes the community involved in judicial settlements of societal problems. The essence of this is to involve the community in the protection of the citizenry and improvement of police-community relationships for effective policing of society.
However, this study will add to the compendium of knowledge by investigating into impact of community policing as a strategy in reduction of crimes in Nigeria.
Statement of Problem
Quite naturally, every social system or subsystem is confronted with a number of challenges that hampers its operational and management performances, and community policing is not an exception. Community policing is awash with obstacles, namely, bribery and corruption, selective enforcement of law, community negative perception of police, public loss of trust and confidence, inadequate manpower, poor community relations, ‘godfatherism’, lack of visionary schemes, among others. Bribery-cum-corruption is particularly systemic in the Nigeria police formation; a situation which some observers in the country referred to as an intractable problem (Alemika, 1999; Karimu, 2015). In specific terms, graft has been implicated as police officers’ major flaw that makes them not to gain public support, confidence and co-operation needed for effective community policing in Nigeria.
Furthermore, the police organization in Nigeria is facing serious obstacles which have continued to affect its legitimacy and the performance of its functions of crime prevention, control, or management. These challenges include poor funding by the government, systemic corruption and internal decadence, inadequate manpower, partisanship, ethnicity, lack of accountability, defects in constitutional provisions, and apparent lack of public confidence, further leading to weak or low legitimacy (Otu & Aro, 2013). In community policing, the community tend to control the police and get them corrupt in the process.
The implication is that when the police are controlled by the community, the police connive at their illegal activities (Carter, 2002). This auspicious security measure or programme has suffered for many years under the taint of corruption. The crime of graft is getting something of value through dishonest or unfair means, especially using political connections or community relationships. On this note, the police may deliberately use illegal or unconstitutional means to make arrests and, in the process, ensure that the charges are thrown out of court. Police corruption is indeed multidimensional and complex; it takes various forms within and outside the police organization. The rot and decadence in the police subsystem are: include kickbacks, favoritism, recruitment malpractice, partisanship, complicity, whitewash and cover-up, and romantic exuberances and compensation. All these shortcomings, we must admit, are inimical to effective community policing in Nigeria.
One of the major setbacks in community policing is the selective enforcement of law syndrome that is commonplace in Nigeria. The poor and minority groups in the community tend to alienate themselves from the police because most of the law enforcement operations focus on the behaviors of the poor, minorities, downtrodden and underprivileged members of the society. The problem centers on widespread favoritism to a group of politicians and privileged upper class community members. Hess, Markson and Stein (1992) admitted that politicians, business elite and community leaders are not policed as the poor and underprivileged are being policed; the former group is granted virtual monopoly in crime as they are connected with criminal gangs and syndicates (as
well as policymakers themselves). This situation is more pronounced in Nigeria where selective enforcement of law is the norm rather than the exception. Here, the police connive with organized criminals who are mainly political leaders or highly placed public office holders to exploiting the citizenry and undermine their plight at will. Expectedly, the populace may not be comfortable with the police unholy alliance and allegiance with community members whose source of affluence is perceived or traceable to crime or other corrupt practices. This unholy alliance is anchored in the philosophy of ‘familiarization’, which Hess et al. (1992) succinctly defined as a medium through which the police (and disgruntled stakeholders in a society) conceal the amount of money they amassed through illegal means.
Based on the above challenges on community policing the study will investigate into the effect of community policing on peculiar domestic crimes in the society.
Objectives of the Study
This study will influence the effect of community policy as a strategy on the reduction of crimes in Nigeria. The specific objectives includes;
1. What effect does community policing have on child abuse crimes
2. What impact does community policing have on sexual abuse and Harassment crimes
3. Does community policing have any effect on reduction on Battery and Assault
H0= Community Policing has no significant effect on child abuse crimes
H1= Community Policing has significant effect on child abuse crimes
H0= Community Policing has no significant effect on sexual abuse and harassment crimes
H1= Community Policing has significant effect on sexual abuse and harassments crimes
H0= Community Policing has no significant effect on assault and Battery
H1= Community Policing has significant effect on assault and battery
Significance of the Study
This study will be relevant for following stakeholders which include: The Police and Other security agencies, the citizens and the Ministry of Defense
The Police will benefit from the study in two ways. First is that thy will be able to quantify their performance relating to the above mentioned objectives above in the study, if they have been doing a good job or they have just been sleeping on their jobs. They will be able to know among the crimes mentioned above which on have really affected the people at large. Secondly, the police will from the findings of this study have the correct understanding of the measures and causes of this crimes in the society and by so they can also give first hand advice to perpetrator who want to commit the crimes or have already committed the crime.
The citizens will from the findings of the study know the benefit and value of community policing in the society and economy at large. The citizen will from the findings of the study be able to know if truly that police is their friend o enemy.
The Ministry of Defense will from the findings of the study be able to know the value of the police in also maintaining law and order in the community.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study will employ the descriptive survey design. The study will be carried within Iyana-Iyesi community. The study will choose the population within the age stratum of the youth (15-
19yrs). young-adult 19-25yrs and Adult (26-35yrs). The study will use the simple random technique to choose the respondent from this age range. The study will use the Taro Yamane to determine the exact respondent that the questionnaire will be distributed too.
Definition of Terms
Community: This can be defined as a geographical setting that contain families and groups that have a common societal boundary.
Strategy: It is the road-map in attaining a goal or objective
Policing: It is the security agencies that aid in protection and maintaining Law and order in the society.
Crime: It is the violation of the law and order of a state, either locally, state or nationally.
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