1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The relationship between police and citizens must be informed by the ethical and professional principles that allow for the effectiveness of their function. One of the challenges to community police units is to maintain peace and. When Law is violated, crime has been committed. This study seeks to focus on the 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 or 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 breadth 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 institutionalized. 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
In Nigeria today, the problem of Insecurity has risen to its highest level, corruption, crime, communal disturbances as in the case of the recent Communal Killings of Farmers by the Fulani Herdsmen, religious intolerance and the likes in Nigeria is a cause for serious concern. 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.
Therefore, the important questions are: 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.
The problems of Surulere Nigerian police in exercising its duties are both logistical and moral. Over the years in logistical terms, the force has maintained by the federal government has not had enough equipment. The quantity and quality of weapons, arms and ammunition available in most mobile squadron units in the country are hardly enough. There are some instances where the force cannot stand the counter firepower of armed bandits. In terms of human resources and strength, the Surulere Nigerian police is yet to have the strength that can adequately contain crime in country. Recruitment into the force has been epileptic. Losses of personnel through natural death, active service, retirement and disciplinary action have not been adequate replacement over the years. With regard to the standard laid by the United Nations ratio of one policeman to 400 citizens. Nigeria has not met the standard. The strength of the force, by the time the then Inspector General of Police Mr Musliu Smith assumed duty was under 120,000 (Nigeria Tribute 10th August, 2000). Okunola (1995) estimated the ratio of the police man to about 641 Nigerians. Which is not much improvement on ratio 1:980 as at 1979 (Danmadani, 1979).
The reward and pay structure of the force is also not encouraging compared to what it takes for one to lay down his/her life, the security is not available. The benefits are not attractive as revealed by Mr. Iwendi Haz, police public relation officer.
All these among others constitute the major problems of the study. The Criteria for Measuring Successful Policing (According To NOPRIN, 2004). These criteria are as follows:
• EFFECTIVENESS (e.g. fewer or reduced criminal victimization; higher proportion of crimes known to the police cleared by arrest; increased recovery of stolen property; higher rates of arrests which result in conviction; lower traffic accident rates; faster response time to reports/complaints).
• RESPONSIVENESS (e.g. higher citizen perception of safety from crime; higher citizen ratings of police performance in general; higher citizen ratings of specific police activities; higher citizen ratings of specific aspects of police conduct such as honesty, integrity, courtesy and fairness).
• EQUITY (i.e. with reference to egalitarian distribution of “protection” to all sections of the population).
• EFFICIENCY (i.e. with reference to cost-and-benefit analysis of “protection” output relative to monetary, human and material in-put). However, when the above are translated into their ordinary meaning, the value and worth of a police force can be determined by:
• The amount and quality of protection it offers the citizens as a whole; and
• The degree of confidence and cooperation it enjoys from the average citizen. Effective and efficient policing in Nigeria: Inadequacies, problems & obstacles Judged by the yardsticks outlined, it has long been clear to a majority of Nigerians that the Nigeria Police Force falls short of optimum performance. There is abundant official and research confirmation of this assertion, apart from information in the daily newspapers, and there is no need to “prove” the non-optimum performance of the Nigeria Police Force in the present contribution. Rather, what is needed is the identification of the major inadequacies, problems and obstacles that are responsible for the situation. And these may be grouped into three categories: material inadequacies; human problems; and obstacles external to the Force.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
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. In Clear terms, It is the objective of the study to examine the following:
1. The role of The Law Enforcement Agency (in this case the Police) in crime control and prevention within the context of historical materialism.
2. The impact of the historical circumstances of the country on crime causation, prevention and control.
3. The possibility of our attainment of a crime free society.
4. Establish position relationship between the law enforcement agencies.
5. Establish whether a significant relationship exist between the structure of Nigeria Police Force and criminal activities.
6. The possibility of cordial relationship between the police and the general public.
1.4 RESEAECH 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 test of 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.
1.5 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.
1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study covers challenges as regards crime control in Nigeria with special reference to the Nigeria Police Force whose statutory responsibility is law and order maintenance. It takes critical look at the crime control operatives as well as the agencies of crime control in Nigeria. It also put into consideration the large number of unemployed youths and the challenges it posit. I will admit there were challenges of Time, Finance, Materials and the Clandestine Nature of Intelligence operation but frank effort was made to make all analysis presented to be structured and provide fair solutions to crime control challenges by the law enforcement agency in Nigeria.
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.