COMMUNITY POLICING AND CRIME PREVENTION

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IMPACT OF COMMUNITY POLICING ON CRIME PREVENTION IN KADUNA METROPOLIS

ABSTRACT

The study examined Impact of Community Policing on Crime Prevention in Kaduna Metropolis. Objectively, three research questions were formulated. The survey design was used in the study. The sample size was 400. 400 questionnaires were administered to the respondents, but 278 questionnaires were found valid. The data gathered were analysed using simple percentage and mean. The findings revealed that: community policing in Chikun Local Government Area is effective; the factors that affecting community policing are corruption, poor funding, God fatherism, institutional constraint and poor perception of the police; and that serious retraining towards attitudinal change, professional efficiency and proficiency, equipping the police, increasing funding for the police and improvement in the conditions of services of policemen are the efforts taken by the government to ensure better community policing in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Based on the findings, conclusion was drawn and recommendations given that there should be serious retraining towards attitudinal change and professional efficiency and proficiency among both the rank and file and other officer cadre of the police; there is need for the police to improve its public relationship. They should see Nigerians as their fellow human beings who deserve to be treated with a high level of courtesy and decorum … .

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0     Background to the Study

Community policing is a philosophy founded on the principle that in a democratic society like Nigeria. The police are entrusted by their fellow citizens to protect and serve the public’s fundamental rights, liberty, equality, and justice under the law. To fulfil that privileged role, the police must be a part of, and not apart from the communities they serve. This fact reiterates the need for involving the communal, the local government, and the police to work together to stop crime. One rationale for public involvement is the belief that police alone can neither create nor maintain safe communities. Therefore, community policing has emerged as a main issue in the development of public safety for many countries in the world. For example, Singapore, Canada (Walker, 1992), England (Friedman, 1992), by 2000, many nations had introduced community policing as it becomes a worldwide growth.

On the 27th April 2004, His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo formally launched the Nigeria Police Community Project. Unfortunately, this project could not be as active as the country’s Modus Operandi is not under international best practices. Therefore, community policing has emerged as a leading issue in the development of public safety in many countries of the world as was experienced in England (Friedman, 1992), Singapore, Canada (Walker, 1992), Israel, and Scandinavian countries.

Community policing can be ineffective in Nigeria, as the country’s modus operandi is not following international best practices. For instance, Neighbourhood watch, as community policing is known as a situation 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 committee is composed of police personnel, and members and leaders of a community, members of the business community, and the clergy living within that vicinity; and are all duly recognized by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, as amended), and the 2004 Police Reform/Police Act. The local policing mechanism is acknowledged by government as a powerful body in solving crime problems in the country. Irrespective of this locally formed body in crime detection and arrest, the country is still battling to embrace international best practices in policing. The Nigerian Police are still developing strategies for improving the modern community policing in terms of developing a non-democratic platform where enforcement of law and order requires utilizing coerciveness, brutality, and disregard for fundamental human rights will be detached.

Qadri (2005) acknowledged that the main duty of the police is to enforce law and order, safeguard lives and property, fighting crimes and criminals, and render other essential services in the society. The organized public faces a lot of unruly behaviours that are inimical to human progress leaving no peace to its victim and the society and as such the work of the Police is necessary as to enforce and main law and order which task is enormous and requires concerted efforts from other agencies to achieve thorough going constructive results. Crimes are generally most obvious in the neighbourhood. The rate of crime in the society overwhelm the Police force and needs public support and co-operation. This calls for more police men which the government alone could not afford and therefore, calls for intensive partnership and concerted efforts of other body polity for the achievement of crime-free society in Nigeria. This need requires both the formal and informal organizations to join hands with the Police to fight crime. This idea or thought will definitely lead to greater success in crime prevention and control if not total eradication in our communities.

The blending of both the formal and informal policing in various towns and villages is called the police-public relationship which often time alienates for certain reasons among which is the claiming of superiority and egoism. However, mutual supports are very necessary in establishing cognitive relationship between the two social actors. There is a great need to bring the police much closer to the public, and verse versa is crucial or decisive to bring about a crime free society for all and sundry, and whereas in the past, police-public relationship has been estranged, and in shackles, making mutual supports very tough. However, the same sour relationship exist in Nigeria and Kaduna State is no exception. With growing urbanization and national development, there are signs of complexity and multiplicity of criminal offences and acts. Thousands of lives and millions of birr worth of property are being lost as a result of one crime or the other. In essence, there must obstacles to effective community policing and a solution to this problem.

The emergence of community policing was to create a real partnership with the existing legal framework for crime prevention and protection of life and property. The maintenance of law and order in any society  has usually been the exclusive role of conventional police and other law enforcement agents in the absence of active participation of the members of the community. During those days, the police do not only faced difficulty in tackling crime but also criticized for the        unfriendly nature of the relationship with members of the public. Thus, community policing has enjoyed an extensive coverage among scholars. It is in the light of the above that the study seeks to examine Impact of Community Policing on Crime Prevention in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

1.1     Statement of the Problem

Crime and the cases of crime is fast becoming a serious problem in contemporary world. The high rate of crime in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State has raised a general feeling of insecurity of lives and property, and have made residents of the local government to cry out for urgent assistance to curb the ugly situation in order to safeguard the lives and property of community members.

In an anxious bid to tackle this rising wave of crime, the federal and state governments have increased support to Nigeria police service in areas of personnel, logistics and firearms. However it seems that the more weapons and police personnel deployed to fight crime, the more criminal activities are committed. Chukwuma (2002) noted that the much that has been achieved seems to be crime spreading from one local government, state or region to another. The argument therefore is that to deal with the growing sophisticated armed kidnapping operations and other related criminal activities, more personnel and new methods or strategy like police/public partnership (community policing) should be introduced.

Each day unfolds with its strange tales of one form of crime or the other. There is hardly any day that passes now without one crime or the other being committed. From kidnapping to killing of innocent people has become more or less the order of the day. Indeed criminal activities have wreck untold havoc in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State including the loss of lives and limbs and the creation of fear and insecurity (Ezuugwu, 2011). With the increasing fear of the rampage effects of kidnapping and other associated criminalities in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, to what extent have the police helped the residents of Chikun L.G to reduce the fear and combat crime?

However, since the introduction of the new method, community policing, in the state in 2004, as a pilot project, not much social research based on the empirical data has been conducted to establish the effectiveness of community policing in crime prevention or reduction in the area. It is in the light of the above that the study seeks to investigate the Impact of Community Policing in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

1.2     Research Questions

These are some of the questions the study is designed to answer:

  1. How effective is community policing in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
  2. What are the factors that affect community policing in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
  3. What are the efforts taken by the government to ensure better community policing in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State?

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to find out the Impact of Community Policing on Crime Prevention in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The specific objectives are to:

  1. Find out the effectiveness of community policing in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
  2. Determine the factors that affect community policing in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State
  3. Inquire the efforts taken by the government to ensure better community policing in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

1.4     Significance of the Study

The study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, community policing has not received adequate research in Africa and especially in Nigeria compared to the extensive researches that have been carried out in the United States and United Kingdom. For this study will be theoretically significant because its findings will help to close the gap created by lack of existing literatures on community policing as a strategy for crime prevention or reduction in Nigeria. It will be an addition to the body of existing sociological, criminological and criminal justice literatures particularly in the area of crime reduction strategies. It will also stimulate further research on community policing in this part of sub-Sahara Africa, and Nigeria in particular.

Practically, the study will also draw the attention of the police on the need to strengthen their relationship with the members of the community where they are working, for effective crime reduction. The findings of this study will help Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State in particular and Nigeria Government at large to plan on how to improve community policing. The findings will also help the general public to understand how the community policing enhances or lowers effective crime control when properly applied.

Finally, the outcome of the study will no doubt help in the prevention of crime and social disorder, and be a useful material to research students of criminology, law, law enforcement agents and public administrators for a crime free society.

1.5     Scope of the Study

This study covered respondents like the Nigeria Police, Vigilante group and other security agents in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

1.6     Definition of Key Terms

Community Policing: It is a collaborative effort between the police and the members of the public to identify the problems of crime and disorder and to develop solutions from within the community in crime reduction.

Crime Prevention: In this study, it is the present interventions in stopping future crime.

Crime Reduction: It is all the effort from the people and the government to reduce the rate of crime in a given society.

Crime: Crime in this study means any action which contravenes the laws established by political authority.

Impact: Effect or Influence

 

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