The Nigeria Police suffers from multiple public confidence crises even though there seems to be
some measure of sympathy for the way the Nigerian authorities treat the force, Public negative
attitude of the police can be informed by the involvement of the police in politics. They become
politicized, hence very partisan in carrying out some of their normal duties. In Nigeria, the police
are always ready to protect the government in power to the detriment of the public it serves. With
nature of the experiences individual members of the public may diverge from this understanding
and likely it will affect the perception of the police as an institution. It is critical for police
Success that it is not perceived as a partisan institution that protects the rich and the powerful
while antagonizing the poor and the weak.
The stained relationship existing between the police and the community can be attributed to the
involvement of the police in politics. They become politicized, hence very partisan in carrying
out their normal duties. In Nigeria, the police are always ready to protect the government in
power to the detriment of the public it serves. Clinard and Albolt (1973: p 41) observed that the
police treat the middle and upper class with respect, because they see them as politically
powerful and therefore worthy of respect.
There exist a strained relationship between the police and the public which affects police image
and credibility in preventing crime. The role of the police in maintaining law and order as often
been questioned by the public. The public negative attitude of the police is informed by the
involvement of policemen with partiality of the police in cases to favour the rich, police
brutality, and taking of bribe as well the poor response to distress call to mention but a few.
The police are supposed to be polite, obedient, law abiding, intelligent, calm, and educated for them to be able to perform up to expectation. But in Nigeria, members of the public always see the police with disdain and disrespect because of bad attitudes. The public mostly dislike the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) because they (the police) are parading themselves as unfriendly beggars, money extorters, intimidators, and so on (particularly to the underprivileged), and as Such, the public do not have confidence in them. White, et al (1991) explained that the relationship between the police and members of the public in Nigeria have tended to be characterized by deep-rooted conflict, prejudice, corruption, and violence. In the same line of thought, findings of Hills (2008) revealed that despite decades of police assistance and the recent introduction of reform plans, Nigeria's public police remain notoriously brutal and corrupt. She attributes that to many factors including a challenging environment; under-resourced others incapable of effectively policing the most populous poverty-stricken Black nation on earth; high rates of urbanization and a volatile underclass of unemployed youths; the lack of social cohesion and traditional control mechanisms; insufficient thought to public order strategy, unlawful arrests and detention; slow response of the police during widespread rioting; and excessive use of discriminate force. If this remains the public perception of the police as an organization then it would continue to encounter difficulties in its numerous tasks of enforcing law and order and ensuring the security of life and property.
Corruption is a major factor that plays out in the bad Police -Public Relations. Nigeria has a widespread reputation for corruption. In 2000, it appeared at the top of Transparency
International's list of the most corrupt countries and it continues to be regarded as a bastion of fraud, graft, and deceit (Transparency International, 2009, Smith, 2010). In Nigeria today, the problems of development are not necessarily due to the scarcity of the natural factors of
production but due to corruption which has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigerian society, and at present, one of the greatest obstacles to national development (Abdullahi 2002:9). In the language of cause and effect, corruption is often portrayed as an independent variable inhibiting the desired and supposedly dependent outcomes of democracy and development, including improving health outcomes (Transparency International, 2006).
Findings of Hills (2008) confirmed that corruption is endemic at every level, with the police regularly heading the 'Transparency International's list of the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria. An average police man in Nigeria is exploited right from his/her recruitment. S/he might not be the best fit for the Jobs , but paying-off can get him there. At the police training colleges, the quality and quantity of food they are served is nothing to write home about; the allowances are not assured of being fully paid and as at when due; during passing-out bribes may be given for "better" posting, before and upon arriving at respective areas of primary asS1gnment may attract a continuation of the trend; and even "returns" might be solicited to the senior ranking officers. At retirement, no one can guarantee that entitlements will be given without giving out bribes. In the event a police otficer dies while in service, the so-called "commissioner's regret allowance" is not enough for the deceased officers tamily to sustain a living for the period of mourning, needless say there's a befitting burial, if the deccased's culture permits. These frustrations usually contribute to the increased corrupt practices of the police- something that is in the fabrics of the police, at the best in the public's eyes.
In line with the above and by implication therefore, unless and until there are trust, confidence, and cooperation, the current deteriorating relationship between the police and the public in Nigeria will continue and reverting to smooth relationship will certainly be in vain. It is necessary for the police to evolve ways by which the members of the public would have confidence in its operations and activities, recognize its importance to achieve its goal of maintaining a secure, peaceful and orderly society.
1.3 Research Questions
In line with the specific objective, the following questions will be raised to serve as a guide to the study;
- What is the public perception of people towards the police?
- What are the impacts of police public relation?
- What are the problems of police public relation?
- How can police public relation be enhanced?
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The broad aim of the study is to examine police-community relation in Kano Municipal, and the specific objectives are;
- To determine the public perception towards police.
- To examine the impact of police public relation
- To identify the problems of police public relation.
- Recommend measures to enhance police public relation
1.5 Significance of the Study
The need for the study arises from the realization that good police public relations are a catalyst for the image and performance of the Nigerian police. A study on the analysis of police public relations is a step in the right directions. The study possesses some academic value and would be of interest to student's individuals, academics, police officers and the general public.
It will also be a contribution to knowledge and literature on the subject matters as well as a guide for further study.
It is hoped that the result of the study will be an eye opener to the nature of relationship between the police and public a veritable material to the Nigerian police force in solving their image problem and enhancing police public relations.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study will focus on police-community relations in Kano Municipal, Kano State. Therefore, the study 1s limited, in terms of conceptual coverage putting in mind factors such as timeframe.
1.7 Operationalization of Key Concepts
The Police: The police are law enforcement agency created by government to protect lite and property of its citizens.
Relation: refers to the way in which individuals or groups behave towards or deal with each other. It also refers to a way in which two things are connection.
Police Public Relation: Is the planned effort to influence opinions through good character and responsible performance based on mutually satisfactory two ways communication between the police and the public who they are employ to their lives and properties.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This chapter consists of the review of literature on the emergence of the Nigeria police force, power and functions of police, Nigeria Police and Community Policing, Community Policing, the Challenges of Police Force, The Police-Public Relationship in Nigeria and The Prospects for Building understanding and Partnership.
The second section contains the theoretical perspectives, The Routine Activity Theory, System Theory and Broken Window Theory.
2.1 The Emergence of the Nigeria Police
The establishment of today's Nigeria police came as a result of 30-person consular guard under the authority of the then governor of British West Africa in October 1861. In 1861 governor of
Lagos colony, McCoskry, organised and established the nucleus of the first police force- Hausa constabulary of 30 men (Tamuno, 1970; the Nigerian police, 1981). This formation marked the beginnings of the first modern police in the history of Lagos. It was also the first modern police force in the territories later designated Nigeria by the British (Tamuno, 1970). In 1879 there was the establishment of the constabulary of Lagos colony, with the appointment of the first commissioner of police in 1896. There comes the royal Niger constabulary in 1886 which was established by the royal Niger Company for the northern teritories. The British colonialist established the police institution for the purpose of advancing the European colonial commercial and strategic interests against the natives especially in the colony and the protectorates (Odikalu,
2004). Allure (1991) argue that the emerging ruling class in colonial Nigeria was a foreign and illegitimate one which sought to dominate and exploits the indigenous people in the interests of
its own metropolitan (British) economy. The effort of this foreign ruling class to subdue the indigenous people and to impose a careful surveillance over them in order to forestall any popular resection created an obsession with the policing of public order.
By 1900 the royal Niger constabulary spitted into two groups, the northen Nigeria police force for the colony and police force and regiment for the protectorate. The force of the colony later emerged with the southern Nigeria police force. 1914 amalgamation had two different police formation for both Northern and Southern Nigeria. In 1930, colonial government established Nigeria Police force headed by an Inspector-General. However, regionalization of police formations remained (Ochikalu, 2004). Section 4 of the police acts of 1967 provides that "the police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged and shall perform Such military duties within or outside Nigeria as may be required of them by, or under the authority of this or any other act". Aina (2014) postulate that the duties are stationary and the police owe these duties to the generality of Nigerians and all other persons lawfully living within
Nigeria. They are therefore answerable to the law in performance of their duties. The question then is does Nigeria police perform this duties effectively and effectively as they ought to. Majority of Nigerians are of the opinion that police performance has being below good commendation.
In lieu of these, the importance of policing the society and the people's perception of the Government which the police represent cannot be overestimated. Odekunle (2004) gives three points that when considered, it will make it becomes clearer.
- Policemen are the government officials most proximate to crime, temporarily and procedurally, and the leading figures in crime prevention or control and in the law enforcement process.
- Policemen's honesty, integrity and observations of procedural laws in handling offenders and non-offenders have deep implications for the citizens perceptions: fairness and justice and for the degree of respect the average citizen has for the law;
- Being highly visible (compared to courts or prisons) and being the primary or main government authority legally authorized to use force on citizens, policemen's behavior affect the citizen's opinion about their government.
For the purpose of this study therefore, it is appropriate to discuss what constitutes security Ejogba (2006) assert that explaining security in modern times is a question that has never been answered satisfactorily by scholars. Its perception even within one community varies in time. Thomas Hobbes (1962) sees security as the protection of lives and property and entire law and order through political sovereignty and monopoly of violence which state/ government provide. As define by South African White Paper on Defence (1996), security is an all-encompassing condition in which individual citizen live in freedom, peace and safety, participate fully in the process of governance. Enjoy the protection of fundamental right, have access to resource and the basic necessities of life, and inhabit an environment which is not determined to their health and will being. This definition presents that security cut across all human existence. Until now, most of the definition on security literarily tends towards the arguments of Thomas Hobbes as pointed out above.