At last, Nigeria joins big nations, adopts community police system to combat growing security problems
By Adesina Idris
London, May 1, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Nigeria has finally woken up from slumber and adopted the globally recognised community police system to combat growing security threats across Nigeria
Nigeria’s police boss, Inspector General Mohammed Adamu who made the announcement Tuesday at the Forum of Northern Traditional Rulers in Kaduna said the new policy wanted by almost every Nigerian has received the blessing of president Muhammadu Buhari who is currently on a private vacation to United Kingdom
IGP Adamu said the Community Policing Model envisaged for the country will involve the establishment and utilisation of the Special Constables.
The IGP reiterates that this Special Constables Model, mirrored after the Police Community Support Officers standard in the United Kingdom policing architecture, will be tailored to align with the existing traditional security structure in Northern Nigeria.
The Special Constables will be drawn from members of the community to serve as voluntary community police officers under the coordination of the Nigeria Police Force
With the adoption, Nigeria has joined the big league of nations like the U.S, UK, India, France and many more that have decentralised their security system by adopting community or neighbourhood policing in which policing functions are citizens-centred and community driven.
According to ever-bridge, community policing, or community-oriented policing, is a strategy of policing that focuses on building ties and working closely with members of the communities to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.”
At a recent public event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the Federal Government would announce a new policy on community policing for better service delivery.
Mr Osinbajo said it would pave the way for modern policing in the country.
He assured that the establishment of community policing would not take away the powers of the national police.
Speaking in Kaduna on Tuesday, the inspector general said the NPF has achieved major successes in addressing security and safety threats in recent times.
Mr Adamu said the success was appreciable since the launch of ‘Operation Puff Adder’.
“It is a citizen-centred and community policing approach which will lead to more sustainable successes in the management of internal safety and security threats,” he said.
The idea of community policing is not new. It came to prominence in the 1990s. As American journalist Mark Obbie writes: “The idea was simple: Walking a beat and chatting up residents would build stronger relations .”
A 1994 editorial for the New York Times stated
“Community policing is the most promising trend in urban law enforcement. It aims to involve police departments in crime prevention, not just crime reaction, by assigning more officers to street patrol, exposing them to neighborhood concerns and training them to identify troubled individuals and bring in social service agencies to provide help.”
How is community policing different from traditional policing?
Although, community policing is new in Nigeria, however in the Western world, particularly the United States, the principle has already gained popularity since the late 1970s.
Its philosophy emphasises partnership, proactive policing and decentralisation of power. Community Policing stresses that by working together the police and the community can accomplish what neither can accomplish alone.
Community policing is a philosophy that emphasises working proactively with citizens in order to prevent crime and to solve crime-related problems. Partnership is a key element of Community Policing because the police and the public must partner together in order to adequately fight crime.
This will involve the police relinquishing some of their powers to the community so that they can become the eye of the police in the neighbourhoods. This can only be achieved if the police earn the trust of the community.
However, where there is distrust between the police and the public such a vision becomes unrealistic
Community policing is defined as involving three key components: Developing community partnerships, engaging in problem solving, and implementing community policing organisational features.
Traditional Policing vs. Community Policing. Community-oriented policinginvolves officers partnering with their communities to help solve problems and to attack the core problems that lead to crime in the first place. … Officers are less authoritative personnel than they are adjuncts of the people
One of the main advantages to community policing is that it reduces fear in the community. With an increase in police presence in the neighbourhood the residents feel more secure. This feeling of security helps the police establish trust within the community
One of the most common benchmarks that law enforcement agencies and the media leverage to gauge the effectiveness of a jurisdiction’s policing policies is the crime rate. Community policing is one of the many strategies law enforcement agencies around the world have used in an attempt to lower the crime rate in their jurisdictions
Additional information from Everbridge and Community Policing in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects by Gbenemene Kpae (Ph.D &Adishi, Eric, (Ph.D)