Community policing in Nigeria is an important organizational strategy that gives communities a better chance to define their security. The outbreak of crime in communities is very rampant and the only possible way such crimes can be tackled is through community policing.
What is Community Policing in Nigeria?
Community Policing is an organizational strategy that creates a working relationship between the police and the community in order to tackle crime, disorder, safety issues and most importantly improve the lives of everyone in a community.
Community policing is a nice approach to dealing with insecurity, disorder, crime and many more. The total cooperation the community offers the police would enable the police to act more effectively in the discharge of their duties in fighting crimes.
As much as community policing is a great idea when it comes to tackling crime, it still has the challenges that prevent it from being a total success.
Community policing is seen as an effective way to promote public safety and improve the quality of life of people in a community in the best possible way.
Community policing makes the work of the police more easier as there is total co-operation from the community which ensures that peace and order are established in the community.
When we talk about community, it is more centered on people at the grassroots level and as such the local government has to actively participate in the process in order for community policing to work.
One important point to note is that community policing helps build up and strengthen the community. In Nigeria, insecurity has become a big issue as lot of citizens are being killed on a daily basis.
The Fulani herdsmen have caused major mayhem when it comes to insecurity in major communities in the country as there is a constant loss of lives and properties. Community policing would help to curb this menace, but Nigeria is grossly under policed and let not get started on Nigerian police incompetence.
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The Nigerian police has failed woefully to establish that trust between themselves and community members has they deviate from the main course of action which is to protect the lives and properties of the citizens in a community or the country as a whole.
A highly visible police presence in a community would help to reduce crime and most especially put the community members at rest as the fear of insecurity would be reduced.
History of Community Policing in Nigeria
The concept of community policing didn’t materialize in Nigeria until the early 2000s when the issue of insecurity and the increase in crime rate became a major problem to contend with.
The foremost community policing organization in Nigeria was the Vigilante Group, which is still relevant in today’s community. A group of people taking up the mantle to ensure that the growing crime rates and insecurity in their communities is highly controlled.
The Vigilante main goals is to ensure the protection of lives and property, crime control and promotion of community policing in Nigeria.
The need for community policing in Nigeria came as a result of an evidence-based study which showed that the use of traditional policing methods and core law enforcement approaches alone are insufficient in dealing with crime and social disorder in the society.
When the issue of insecurity became uncontrollable, the government had to adopt the concept of community policing to be able to curb the growing menace.
Benefits of Community Policing in Nigeria
The following are the benefits of community policing in Nigeria:
1. Community policing provides an expanded outlook on crime control and prevention. The community and the police working together would proffer solutions to incessant crimes and insecurity in the community.
2. Community Policing helps police work more efficiently and effectively in curbing the outbreak of crime in a community.
3. Community policing ensures that the quality of the lives of everyone in a community is improved.
4. It creates a sense of trust amongst community members, thereby eliminating fear in the community.
5. It results in a positive change in how a community views the police as the efforts of the police in tackling crime would be more appreciated.
6. It brings peace and order to a distressed community.
7. Community policing makes community members active participants in the process of solving community security challenges.
8. It helps to build a better relationship between the police and the community.
9. It promotes public safety and high maintenance of order in a community.
10. It establishes familiarity and greater transparency between the police and members of the public.
11. Community policing engenders partnership, engagement, accountability, accessibility, transparency and improves the visibility of police officers.
Challenges of Community policing in Nigeria
The following are challenges associated with community police job in Nigeria:
1. Lack of political will and resistance to change
The traditional policing method is still much in progress in Nigeria, which has brought little or no result over the years and since that is the police mode of operation for a long time, the idea of adapting to the concept of community policing proves difficult for them.
This is one problem faced by community policing in Nigeria as many stakeholders and police officers still revert to the old ways of policing without going for the much needed change to ensure lives and property are well secured.
In Nigeria, the police have created a bad image for themselves as they are seen to violate human rights instead of protecting lives and property. They use all forms of brutality on helpless citizens just for their selfish gain.
Many Nigerians have developed unnecessary fear for the police and the concept of working with the police seems a major turn off for them. Community policing cannot be successful when there is a lack of trust or extreme fear by the members of a community.
3. Inadequate Remuneration
Another challenge faced by community policing in Nigeria is inadequate remuneration received by police officers. When police officers are not well paid they tend to feel more reluctant in working.
This is a major issue as it impacts directly on police ability to prevent and control crime as well as criminal investigation. Corrupt police officers work hand in hand with criminals which makes it hard for community policing to thrive.
Community policing is an effective approach to combating crime and tackling insecurity in the country. For community policing to thrive in Nigeria, the challenges involved should be addressed so as to have a safe and peaceful society.
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