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POLICE BRUTALITY AS A THREAT TO CIVILIANS SAFETY
1.1 Background of the study
The issue of Police brutality has taken on many definitions throughout the years and is defined differently among police, researchers, medical professionals, and community members with no single definition accepted among all. For the purpose of this study, this author will be utilizing the definition as defined by the Student National Medical Association. According to Mitchell (2000), “Police brutality is defined as any act of unmerited excessive and aggressive 8 physical, mental, and/or emotional abuse, above and beyond the law, enacted upon by an individual or groups of individuals in law enforcement” (p. 2). This definition is critical due to its incorporation of not just physical but also mental and emotional abuse that is often unaccounted for. Police physical abuse can have serious detrimental effects. While police brutality can come in various physical forms, Mitchell (2000) notes that physical injuries may develop from police actions as serious as shootings and baton beatings to something as simple as restraint holds. Mitchell (2000) states, “Police physical abuse can result in skin abrasion/laceration, bone fracture, asphyxiation, parenchymal nerve injury, contusion, concussion, skull fracture, epidermal & subdural hematoma, pneumothorax, and hemothrax” (p. 2). While physical abuse can have damaging negative consequences for the body, it can also formulate into a traumatic experience for the victim. However, less understood and detected are the psychological effects that can be as detrimental and lasting. Mitchell (2000) argues, “Psychological trauma faced by victims can also manifest itself in many ways such as stress, anxiety, fear, paranoia, distrust, insomnia, anorexia, and depression” (p. 2). It is reported that psychological stress in general often consumes many areas of life including job performance, ability to sustain employment, and everyday interactions with family and people in the community (Mitchell, 2000). Furthermore, family of fatally injured victims can often suffer many of the same psychological tolls.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The inability of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to make sure crime rate is reduced, safety of life and property is assured and the continuous crime issues in the country is alarming. The sources of crime issues in the country are too numerous to mention and cannot be blamed on just one arm of the system. They change from the government to the police down to the people in the society. On the side of the police, there are numerous issues which stand as constraints responsible for its extremely poor performance. A good number of Nigerians have described the police as a crowd composed of lazy, incompetent, corrupt, uniformed men and women contributing to the perpetrating of crimes such as mass killing, intimidation, rape, extrajudicial killings/summary execution and other hateful and evil crimes against citizens they are paid to protect. The rapid and wide spread of violence in the northern part of Nigeria which was introduced by Boko Haram today is related with the police extra-judicial killing of the leader of the group. It is also common with the police to falsely label innocent people as armed robbers, while the real criminals are working freely in the society doing what they know to do best. They falsified post mortem result and to worsen the matter, people either criminals or none criminal disappear from there custody without good explanations and families of the innocent victims are faced with extortion. The Nigeria police Force (2008) in there annual report noted that the police is handicapped because of combination of factors that plagued them, among which are; lack of resources, poor government support, poor condition of service, lack of appropriate and adequate training and ill-equipped workforce. Coped with this are the issue of police extortion and corruption and other vices common among the police system which contributes to their lack of efficiency. Alemika (1999) posit that police corruption is a serious issue because they are expected to be moral as law-enforcement agents. If the police that were employed and taken care of with the people’s money to protect them and detect crimes for them are on their own corrupt and also a party to crimes, then the entire society is at the mercy and grace of the criminals. The above among numerous others contribute to the Police and the challenges of crime in the Nigerian state.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
- To examine the causes of Nigerian police force brutality in Nigerian society.
- To examine the effect of Nigerian Police force brutality on the image of the Nigerian Police
- To determine the major challenges to effective crime management by the Nigerian police force.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the causes of Nigerian police force brutality in Nigerian society?
- What is the effect of Nigerian Police force brutality on the image of the Nigerian Police?
- What are the major challenges to effective crime management by the Nigerian police force?
- There is no significant effect of the causes of Nigerian police force brutality in Nigerian society.
- 2. There is no significant effect of Nigerian Police force brutality on the image of the Nigerian Police
- 3. There is no significant effect of the major challenges to effective crime management by the Nigerian police force.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense importance to the general public and the Nigeria police as it would highlight the role of the police in crime management. The study would also be of benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study was delimited to police brutality as a threat to civilians safety
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Difficulty in gathering materials especially relevant to the study was a challenge since the study is not common. This caused scarcity of relevant research materials from local papers. Hence, the researcher had to rely greatly on the foreign materials in order to put up this work.
Another challenge faced by the researcher was lack of fund and limited time for the undertaking and submission of this work.
1.8 Definition Of Terms
The researcher is of the opinion that there are some terms used in this research work that might not be so easy to understand by the reader especially these with little or no knowledge of police terms. Therefore, for the sake of convenience, some important terms are defined below.
- POLICE: According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, the police refers to an organization whose job is to make people obey the law and to prevent and solve crime.
- COMMUNITY POLICING: This means that the police should partner with residents, business owners, community leaders, government departments etcetera in solving and improving the quality of life of members of the community.
- ORGANIZATION: According to John Gavs, organization is the relation of efforts and capacities of individuals and groups engaged upon a common task in such a way as to secure the desired objective with the least friction is done and those engaged in the enterprise.
- CRIME: This refers to activities that involve breaking, the law
- INVESTIGATION: This is the process by which the police carefully examine the facts of a situation especially crime to find out the truth about the crime as it happened.
- POLICE STATION: This is a police office which is commanded by an officer not below the rank of sub-inspector.
- POLICE POST: A police post is the lowest branch in the structure of police and is commanded by an officer of not below the rank of corporal.
- REMUNERATION: An amount of money that is paid to a worker for the job done.
- ARMS: These are weapons which be used by the police in fighting crime, example guns.
- ON SPOT ASSESSEMENT: This is the ability of the police to go to the scene of an incident to determine how the incident occurred.
- PROSECUTION: This is the process of trying to prove in a law court that somebody is guilty of a crime.
- BEAT: The usually path followed by someone (police) on duty.
ARREST: This is the process of taking somebody into custody so as to answer chargers of crime.