Re-thinking Community Policing as a Strategic Response to Criminality and Insecurity in Nigeria
Following the alarming public distrust of the Police and increasing twin challenges of criminality and insecurity in Nigeria, the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tafa Balogun with assistance from agencies in United States of America and United Kingdom, in 2003 undertook a number of measures to improve the police and citizen relationship. This culminated to the introduction of Community Policing in 2004 to address the gamut of security problems in the country. This study therefore x-rays Community Policing as a strategic response to criminality and insecurity in Nigeria. The study posits that given the inherent inadequacies of the Police coupled with negative public perception, it seems very difficult for the Nigerian Police Force to successfully tackle criminality and insecurity in the society without adequate supports from the members of the community. The paper is descriptive in nature and relies on secondary sources of data through relevant textbooks, journals, and other publications while the analysis is anchored on Functional theory. Arguably, the fear and incidence of criminality and insecurity could be holistically tackled through a comprehensive implementation and public embrace of the Community Policing strategy. This paper argues that some of the daunting challenges to the success of community policing includes inadequate qualified personnel, insufficient crime fighting equipment, poor remuneration of the security personnel, political interference amongst others. It is therefore recommended that Government at all levels in Nigeria should fully adopt Community Policing with all its principles to tackle criminality and insecurity. Efforts should be made to ensure recruitment of qualified personnel, efficient welfare packages for the personnel, adequate facilities for operations and effective communication between the Police and the Community members. Key Words: Community Policing, Criminality, Crime reduction, Insecurity, Strategic response.