PROJECT TOPIC- POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS IN NIGERIA, PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS: A STUDY OF EBONYI STATE POLICE COMMAND
This study focuses on “Police – public relations in Nigeria”. The study became imperative based on the prevailing security challenges in the country which has often been linked to the nature of relationship that exist between the police and the Nigerian public. It therefore becomes pertinent to determine the factors that lead to conflicting relationship between the police and its public with a view to finding solution to these problems. The researcher adopted David Easton’s systems theory to analyze the work. The choice of the theory is predicated on the fact that the police and the public must work as a system as the police need public assistance and cooperation in terms of providing the necessary information and evidences descriptive survey design. Secondary data were used for the work. Among other things the findings of the research include that police enforcement of unpopular and repressive laws enacted by the rules engenders conflicts between the public and the police; interdisciplinary system of the Nigeria police were highly discriminatory against the poor, reactive in nature instead of proactive, accorded less attention in the priority issues and are unwieldy or haphazard in coordination, the oppressive and exploitative economic, social and political system in the country created a wide gulf between the citizens and rulers. This factor has made police subscribe to the rulers to the detriment of the entire citizenry. The researcher therefore recommended that members of the public should be educated on the role and powers of police, and the significance of public cooperation with police in order to promote an overall individual, community and national security. The leadership of the police in Nigeria needs to make police discipline a national functional policing priority and it needs to start from the top. Police men and women should be thoroughly screened and tested during their initial training to ensure that they possess good characters, and are emotionally stable before they are finally enlisted among others. All these in the view of the researcher will further strengthen – public relations in Nigeria and tend to effective policing in the country.
1.1 Background of the study
This study focused on Police-Public Relations in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects. Globally, organizations like the police organization are created for a purpose. Usually, they are to render essential services to the public. It is therefore true that the effectiveness and efficiency of organizations are determined by how far the organization has been able to achieve its goals and objectives. Undoubtedly, most organizations derive their patronage and support from the public.
Police organization is not an exception. It is therefore, reasonable to argue that the public of every organization play significant role to its success. The relationship between the police and the Nigeria public cannot be said to be cordial. This is in part as a result of the operations and the attitude of the Nigeria police towards its public. The pre and post 2011 general elections violence in Nigeria, had claimed “many lives and property worth billions of naira, yet the police claim to be performing its duties. This is why this study police – public relations in Nigeria. Problems and prospects could not have come at a better time than now.
Over the years, it has been generally accepted that to achieve efficiency and effectiveness organizations must develop and implement sound public relations policy. To do this successfully, it must recognize the importance of the publics of the organization. Most often, this recognition seems to commence with sharing awareness to be servants of the people. If this is the case, there would be no antagonism and hostility between the police and the communities they serve.
However, the literature on police and policing reveals that the police are often in conflict with a significant percentage of the population in almost all countries of the world. From the forgoing statement, it is clear that if an organization is not responsive to the opinion of its publics, it will not be able to understand itself. It is in recognition of this fact that the police public relation was formed in Nigeria, sequel to the establishment of Nigeria Police Force in 1930.
The Police Public Relations department was subsequently established in Nigeria in 1962 by the first indigenous Inspector -General of Police, Edet. Police public relation is that aspect of management of the police organization which seeks to establish positive interpersonal relationships between the force and its public through an assessment of public attitudes and interests so that the police organization can carry out its statutory duties in accordance with the law and with the support, respect and acceptance of the
The functions of the Nigeria police force was specified in section 4 of the
police act (law of the federation 1990) as:
- Prevention and detection of crime
- Apprehension of offenders
- Preservation of law and order
- Protection of life and property
- Enforcement of laws and regulations with which they are charged.
6 Military duties within or without Nigeria as may be required of them.
However, the nature of Police Public Relations in Nigeria has made the realization of these functions difficult. This is so for largely two factors. Firstly, modern societies are diverse in economic, social and cultural compositions, which means that the police cannot be neutral in respect of competing and antagonistic class relations no matter how hard they try, secondly, and perhaps most importantly police are agencies of the state employed to maintain the social order in which the interests of the rulers and the dominant economic class are paramount.
Therefore, police enforcement of the laws and maintenance of social order which promote the interest of the rulers to the detriment of the majority of the population, inevitably put them in hostile relations with their host public or communities across countries. In this study, the researcher will therefore x-ray the type of relations that exist between the police and the public in Nigeria; the problems that hinder affective Police Public Relations and ways to further enhance Police Public Relations in Nigeria, to reposition the police organization for efficient service delivery to the public.
PROJECT TOPIC- POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS IN NIGERIA, PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS: A STUDY OF EBONYI STATE POLICE COMMAND
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It has always been a problem to establish a cordial Police Public Relations in Nigeria. The Nigeria police have been characterized by inefficiency and low service delivery to its public. This has led to erosion of public confidence on the organization, and therefore not a welcome development. A lot of factors have been responsible for this precarious situation. The nature of a country’s social structure influences its police public relation. Thus the character of Police Public Relations will be determined by the extent of division, inequality and conflicts between the rulers and the rest of the society as well as the extent to which every member of the society have a sense of belonging and well being.
Consequently, Police Public Relations will be less hostile or friendly if society runs a democratic system of government in content and posture, maintains an economic system in which concern for growth, equity and welfare of all the citizens are given priority attention; maintain legislature and judiciary systems, which ensure adherence to the rule of law by the low and mighty as well as the protection and promotion of human rights.
Conversely, a totalitarian or repressive regime will create conditions for hostile Police Public Relations. The NPF has been influenced by this type of regime The nature extent, scope, contact of police and the Police Public Relations in Nigeria. Police and the citizens are in constrains daily contacts. These contacts may be voluntary or involuntary. Police- public contacts in Nigeria are characterized by prejudice and preconceived notions.
The public therefore, tend to resist the police and the latter try to assert their authority. These are two important factors in police-public relations violence. Antagonism and violence between the police and the public tend to be higher in societies where the police concentrate on law enforcement than in societies where the police blend law enforcement and social welfare services. Internal control system of the Nigeria police force affects it relations with the public.
Different types and levels of internal controls in every police force include training, core values, regulations, procedural manuals, code of conduct and disciplinary mechanisms. A review of these internal disciplinary mechanism within the Nigeria police force reveals that they are highly discriminatory against the poor, reactive in nature instead of proactive, accorded less attention in terms of budget and are unwieldy or hazard in coordination.
In view of the above problems, the researcher raised the following questions for the study.
- To what extent has the Nigeria social structure affected Police Public
Relations in Nigeria?
- How has the nature of contact of police and public influenced police-
public relations in Nigeria?
- Why has the Police Public Relations office been unable to rebuild the
battered image of the Nigeria police force?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Apart from the broad objective of this study which is to determine the problem and prospects of police – public relations in Nigeria the following sub -objectives are pursued by the study.
- To determine the extent Nigerian social structure affects Police Public
Relations in Nigeria.
- To determine how the nature and scope of contact between the police
and public influence police public relation in Nigeria.
- To ascertain how the internal control system of Nigeria police affect its
relations with the public.
- To find out why the Police Public Relations department has been
unable to rebuild the battered image of the Nigeria police organization.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H1: Nigeria social structure has negatively affected police public relations in Nigeria.
H2 : The nature, and scope of contact between the police and the public in Nigeria hinder effective police public relations.
H3: The internal disciplinary control mechanisms within the Nigeria police.
Hinders the realization of the goals and objectives of the Police Public
Relations department in Nigeria.
1.5 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This study adopted David Easton’s system theory. David Easton, Canadian (born June 24, 1917) propounded this model in 1965. In Easton’s terminology, the political system’ receives ‘inputs’ from the environment in form of’ demands’ and ‘support’, it produces outputs in the form of ‘policies through a feedback’ mechanism giving rise to fresh ‘demands’, etc. Systems theory in its simple term is the big picture approach that overcomes the common weakness of viewing things in too narrow perspective.
Systems theory attempts to view the organization as a unified, purposeful entity composed of inter related ports. Rather than dealing separately with the various parts of an organization, the systems theory gives managers a way of looking at an organization as a whole and as part of the larger, external environment. In so doing, systems theory tells that the activity of any part of an organization affects the activity of every other part.
The relevance of the theory to this study is predicated on the fact that the police organization is part of the larger external environment. To that extent the police and its environment should work as a system to enhance the realization of the goals and objectives of the Nigeria police force. The realization of this fact will foster Police Public Relations in Nigeria. Police functions of maintenance of law and order and crime prevention and control would hardly be achieved if a hostile relationship between the police and its public persists. Crimes are perpetrated in the larger environment by the people that make up the public, and not mostly at the police stations. The Police Public Relations officers should establish harmonious relationship with the public to be able to access information about crimes and conducts of human beings in the society as police job is based on evidence. Investigations of criminal acts by the police is based on evidence from its environment. Effective Police Public Relations will enhance police performance.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Every academic exercise like this is expected to be beneficial to the target population or public. The study will therefore add to the already existing literature on the problems of Police Public Relations in Nigeria as both scholars and potential research students will find this work useful for further studies. The public in general and the academic world in particular will through this study understand the factors that hinder effective Police Public Relations in Nigeria. A better understanding of such factors like social structure, internal control system among others will make the public change their attitude towards the police organization, since the problem is not entirely that of the police.
Through this study, the Nigeria police force will know the level of deterioration done to its image by its officers and men and device strategies to improve Police Public Relations in Nigeria. Through this study, the public will appreciate the enormous role Nigeria police force play, and therefore see the reasons to assist them. Finally, the Police Public Relations officers will appreciate this work as to has exposed those factors that hinder effective Police Public Relations in Nigeria.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study centered on Police Public Relations in Nigeria, its problems and possible solutions. In a nutshell, the work is concerned with the operations of the Nigeria police force regarding its defined roles with a particular emphasis on its relations with the public.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
On the other hand, this work was limited by some factors. These constraints include:
Time factor: The study could not cover all the areas it supposed to cover because of time factor. The research was expected to be concluded within a specified time frame allotted to it by the department.
Inadequate fund: Enough resources are required to conduct a research project, especially Financial resources. The researcher did not have the requisite
financial resources required for the study and this was one of the limitations of the study.
Another limitation is the problem of data and information scarcity and uncooperative attitude of the public when information are sourced from them and human frailties.