THE ROLE OF NIGERIAN POLICE IN CRIME CONTROL AND PREVENTION A STUDY OF PORT HARCOURT METROPOLIS
A crime is committed when ever law is violated. Our study will centre on the role of law enforcement agency (Nigeria Police Force) in crime control and prevention. The law enforcement agency in the real sense of the term according to Iwarimie-Jaja (1991:74), refers to criminal justice agency (federal, state of local) which perform the principal functions of prevention, and the apprehension of alleged offenders. By enforcement of the law Nigeria Police Force reflect the ideological interest and priority desired by the controllers of the state as observable in intractable competitions.
Throughout the length and breath of our nation Thompson (1986), posted that innocent citizens are gripped with the fear of armed men, hoodlums, and vagabonds who perpetrate their evil with reckless abandon.
Our society has ever since been witnessing an unprecedented upsurge of criminal activities ranging from conventional, victimless to white-collar crime, especially “pen-robbery” which is now almost institutionalised. Any nation plagued with this magnitude of social problem which people sign as they pass by make comments like it’s too bad, will no doubt look for solutions. It is on this basis that Nigeria Police Force has come to stay.
According to Ogunleye (1976:250, duties of the police are defined in section 4 of the Police Act as “the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the regrettable, it is only the latter that law easily punishes because of their vulnerability whereas the former is let go with impunity.
Up till now the public fails to acknowledge the fact that the role of the police in our society is the defence of the right and property of the bourgeois consequently, the police has been singled out as escape goat for all the ill of the society. It is from the context of the corrupt society we all belong that allegation of inefficiency and corruption consequently levelled against the Nigeria Police be viewed.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The level of corruption, crime, communal disturbances, religious intolerance and the likes in Nigeria is a source of concern to any right thinking person. What nation loses as a result of violation of criminal law cannot be quantified. Not only is the economy dragged to the base continually, the image of the nation will need a great quantity of detergent to be laundered both home and abroad. How do we rid crime out of our society? Could it be controlled or prevented? What are its remote causes? The police have made series of efforts aimed at controlling and preventing crime yet not much has been achieved.
Many people have lost their lives, property, money and even intangible things such as reputation, joy, peace due to crime they committed or those of others. Could the inability of the police to achieve a crime free society be attributed to the socio-economic structure of our society, absence of sophisticated equipments to combat crime, poor communication network, outright bribery/corrupt practices among the police? Hence, these questions put low the integrity of the police and places one in a valley of indecision as to whether the Nigeria Police Force has the interest of the nation at heart. All these among others constitute the major problems of the study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Research objective produce additional clarity in the communication and thinking about the topic and problem statement. It reduces the tendency for the research to treat problem symptoms instead of the real problem or to neglect important aspects of the problem statement (Okeafor 1998).
It is the objective of the study to examine the following:
- The role of the police in crime control and prevention within the context of historical materialism.
- The impact of the historical circumstances of the country on crime causation, prevention and control.
- The possibility of our attainment of a crime free society.
- Establish position relationship between the law enforcement agencies.
- Establish whether a significant relationship exist between the structure of Nigeria Police Force and criminal activities.
- The possibility of cordial relationship between the police and the general public.
1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This is a discussion on why the researcher is conducting the study. It tries to justify the study, by explaining some of its benefits, who benefits, and how, and with what relevance (Okafor 1998). This study is aimed specially at: identifying the strategies Nigeria Police Force uses in controlling and preventing crimes. The study will investigate to identify problems the police encounter in combating crime. The study is very important, predicted upon its emphasis on an understanding of the structure of our society and criminal activities.
Hence, it will serve as a guide for eliciting change in social police and practise, which is a desideration. Hopefully therefore, the various aims of government, general public and the police in particular will find the study useful. Other scholars will equally benefit from the study as it adds to existing literature of knowledge, advance measure in crime control and prevention to the betterment of our society.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
This is an advocated guess or hunches as to the likely outcome of events in the problem statement. The acceptance or rejection of the research hypotheses helps to re-enforce the strength of the research findings. The following hypotheses are stated in directional form.
There is significant relationship between the structure of the police force and the two related functions of the police control and prevention of crime.
There is significant relationship between sophisticated equipped police force and crime combat.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This explains which aspects and what for the research hopes to add to or bridge knowledge. It expresses in what areas study may make some contribution (Okeafor 1998).
Hitherto, individual criminals have been criminals themselves. It has, till now, not been adequately considered that the society itself is the sole incriminator. Consequently, this study will be very relevant as it shifts from the individual criminal and puts the society in correct.
Carefully, the extent that policymakers and practitioners, legislators (civilian and military), police, courts, and prisons accepts this shift from the individual to the society to that extent too, shall the study and social policy and practice.
The usefulness of the research is predicted upon its emphasis on an understanding of the entire structure of the society, which will concomitantly expose the history, culture, institution, aspiration and our prevailing problems.
1.7 DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
CRIMINAL LAW: Involve status and norms, a violation of which subject the accused person to government prosecution. Encompassing those wrongs considered to be so serious as to threaten the welfare of the entire state.
CRIME: The violation of existing criminal law.
PREVENTION: The forestalling, foreseeing, anticipating and heading off crime and delinquency.
CONTROL: The containment, restraint and regulation of crime.
WHITE COLLAR CRIME: Crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his normal occupation.