PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF COMMUNITY POLICING IN ABUJA METROPOLIS
Police is an important institution in society. However, there are activities of police personnel in public domain which constitute embodiment of integrity problem. In line with this direction, this study specifically investigated public perception of police activities in a semi urban area, Okada in Edo State. The study adopted descriptive cross sectional survey design. Study population consisted of members of resident community. A sample of 194 respondents was used and this size was statistically determined using Cochran’s formula.
Data were collected at quantitative and qualitative levels. Method of data analysis was quantitative descriptive statistics and qualitative. Ninety-four percent of respondents had different forms of educational qualifications and 89.7% were 20 years and above. There were 30.0% of respondents that affirmed that police officers engaged in extortion on high way road. Respondents (12.4%) identified extra judicial killings associated with police activities. Other respondents (30.9%) maintained that police officers collaborated with criminals and 13.4% respondents identified harassment of unsuspecting citizens by police men.
There were 69.1% respondents who claimed they paid for bail bond and 76.3% were victims of police illegal activities. Perception of service delivery by police men was rated moderate (43.3%), low (35.1%) and high (21.6%). There was consensus among police officials that some officers lacked integrity and public members were main collaborators that aided illegal practice. Police activities especially in Okada town, are fraught with illegal act and this really affected public rating of the organization. Therefore, there is need to intensify training and re-training of police officers especially in area of professionalism and public relations.
1. Introduction and Statement of the Problem
Police is an important institution in the Nigeria society. The primary goal of formal policing is to protect life and property and ensure that society is in stable order. The role of Nigeria police cannot be undermined in crime prevention. The Nigeria Police perform well to check all forms of crime ranging from violent crime to property crime where people build their confidence and trust in the society they live. There is no community with organisation of human beings that does not have the presence of police in Nigeria (Okunola, 2002). This gives credence to the fact that police is an acceptable organisation. Similarly, relationship between police and host communities is cordial and this perhaps explain some of the reasons which account for the success of police to curb crime. Critically speaking, some studies reveal that police is effective in their role to protect lives and properties of people in Nigeria (Onoge, 1993; Okunola, 2002; Odekunle, 2005). The reason for this conclusion is that the presence of police in many communities in Nigeria reduced crime rate and people now show maximum cooperation with police to achieve effective crime control (Odekunle, 2005). Although it is a subject of debate to agree that Nigeria police is effective in crime control, it is however certain to agree that the presence of police in communities across Nigeria suggests the essentials of the services provided.
Police is not masquerade and the people that wear the uniform are members of the society. Also police is a profession of occupation that people engage to build career. The economic interest of police men and women is not different from other people in other professional career. Specifically, individual in his/her occupation aspires for success in socioeconomic status. This suggests that central to the mind is the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that guide employees to remain committed and satisfied in their jobs.
It is certain that employee like police officer desires decent work, want job that offers human dignity, freedom, equity, security of job stability and productive. However, the way people aspire to acquire desired opportunities and benefits in their job differ significantly.
Lately in Nigeria, there are reports and insinuations that police officers engage in activities that undermine the integrity of what ideal police organisation should be (Human Rights Watch, 2016). There are cases of illegal extortions of money from unsuspecting public members, illegal arrest of unsuspecting citizens in a disguise for police raids, forceful collection of money from commercial motorists, intimidation of law abiding citizens, road blocks which have led to avoidable accidents on high ways and so on. This attitude is a major problem that constitutes negative public image of police organisation. Most of the studies available in the area of police have been focused on crime prevention, effective operation of police and criminological domain of police organisation (Alemika & Chukwuma, 2005; Ajibade, 2011;
Ojo, 2012)). Yet there is growing public concern about police integrity in Nigeria and how this mix to affect effective policing. This is the main focus of this study. In line with above discussion, this study was focused to:
AIMs AND OBJECTIVE
- Identify activities of police personnel that negate normative expectation of the organisation in public domain.
- Examine implication of police activities on effective policing in resident community.
Limitation of the Study
This study only focused on the activities of police that people perceived as illegal in resident community. However, there are individuals who are victims of police brutality which could be adequately engage in qualitative method of study. This may likely provide in-depth understanding of strategies used by police in their nefarious activities. The sample size of this study may be expanded in subsequent studies to allow for more accurate generalization.