Toward Enhancing Police-Community Relations in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects
This paper examines the existing relationship between the police and members of the public in Nigeria, highlighting the various problems endemic in both parties (the police and the public). The paper provides the essential pragmatic means of further enhancing this relationship for a better and peaceful society through the principles of community policing. The authors take a multi-dimensional approach to the police public relationship (P-PR) in Nigeria positing thatprimarily, there are structural, organizational, and attitudinal factors that led to the deteriorating nature of the P-PR in Nigeria. The paper posits that co-operation between the police and the public is a prerequisite for the success of any law enforcement agency, notably the police as well as a better, peaceful, and harmonious society. The police alone cannot achieve this without support from the members of the public whom they serve. For that kind of good working condition to be created, the police need to be polite, friendly, approachable, honest, law abiding and demonstrate high sense of responsibility in dealing with members of the public and in discharging their duties. On the other hand, the public must understand that maintaining law and order is a collective responsibility between the parties and should do everything possible to assist the police in protecting lives and property. Good and objective partnership between the community and the police will help bring positive response to crimes and other social problems.This can be achieved by ensuring proper and genuine police reform in the country to overhaul the organization and by bringing to book corrupt officers and men as general and specific deterrence.
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