Policing In America
How can democratic policing principles affect increased social wellbeing,"Polic-Nation X", while still remaining effective?
The violation of human rights is not a new experience in Nigeria. The worst situation has been linked to decades of military rule in the nation that had attracted sanctions along with all types of condemnation from the international community. Policing is central and imperative role of state, vested with the role to guarantee an environment of security, as well as safety. Thus, the police should be equipped to become accountable and transparent to meet the many challenges in support of democracy and human rights (Amusan, & Saka 105). The legitimate policing are that which promote democratic principles that include transparency, accountability and respect for human rights. The police should in the front position in creating environment free of fear, and favorable to the fulfillment of peoples’ human rights, specifically those that boost tolerant political act that is the stamp of democracy (Mowoe 37). Democratic countries, such as Nigeria require democratic policing. Regrettably, the end of military rule, and the subsequent enthronement of democratic rules has failed to eliminate or at least, lower cases of abuses of human rights in Nigeria. The mainstream of the abuses and violations of citizens’ rights are being executed by the Nigerian police force. In many instances, police have been accused of lack of accountability, and transparency whilst performing their policing duties in Nigeria (Human Rights Watch 12). Provable occurrences of extrajudicial killings, cruelty of innocent citizens, application of educe confessional statements from suspects, and transparent corruption carries on being characteristic of the Nigerian police in the capable democracy (Ivkovic 594).
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), founded in 1930, has a rich history of involving in unethical, fraudulent, as well as illegal behavior. For many decades, this unmanageable force-Africa’s biggest-has confirmed hard to efficiently manage plus control, where it has become hugely inexplicable to the citizens that they should serve. The police came into being in its current form as a British colonial formation. Through colonialism and domination and on the other side, by neo-colonialism and diffusion the force was reengineered and incorporated into the world capitalism. Thus, the current Nigerian police are the brainchild of British colonial government and dates back to 1861, after the annexation of Lagos. The British Consul responsible for administration of Lagos create a Consular Guard in Lagos through a Police Act of 1861 that was regularized in 1879 through an ordinance forming a “consultancy” for the colony in Lagos. In 1943, the Northern and Western regions created their regional police forces and al were merged in 1968. The Nigerian Constitutions from 1979 created the NPF as the national police of Nigeria (Amusan, & Saka 106).
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is established under Section 214 of 199 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is a federal police. The state and local governments are not allowed to establish their police forces. The NPF are headed by the inspector general police (IGP), who is presidential appointee following consultations with the Nigeria Police Council. The second in rank is the deputy inspector general who helps the IGP in his/her roles. The next in rank are the assistant inspector generals who are responsible for overseeing police operations in different departments at the NPF based in Lagos. Nigerian Police Force commands in every state are under the power of the commissioner of police. The NPF headquarters situated in Lagos is divided into five departments that include: administration, communications, criminal records and investigations, finance and other resources, and special branch.
Police accountability is concerned with holding the police accountable for their acts and inactions and for efficient performance of the chief roles of prevention of crimes and control whilst treating individuals fairly, as well as within the confines of law. Accountably is crucial for democratic policing around the globe and this is the ground processes are important if police institutions are to attain the goals of legitimacy along with lawfulness plus guarantee efficient police-community rapport. It is essential to acknowledge that police accountability is crucial as if powers of the police force are not controlled, it might be endangered. The police in Nigeria have expanded from the policing system established in British colonial administration, though there were local police that were phased out between 1968 and 1972). Since 1972, there has been only single NPF, 264 police per 100,000 persons. The history of NPF is a legacy of vandalism, brutality, cruelty, discourteousness, low accountability to the general public, as well as corruption. On the other side, there is no single centralized police in the United States (US) as in Nigeria. There are more than 18,000 police agencies, as well as just less than one million law enforcement officers in the US that translates to the reality that in the US, policing is greatly centralized. Hence, the United States is seen as a punitive country with the greatest imprisonment globally. As compared to other developed nations, the US has high rate violent crimes (Adekunle 651).
Globally, there are diverse mechanisms of exerting control over police. These mechanisms differ from one place to another, relying on the political structure or nations entailed. In both Nigeria and U, these mechanisms may be grouped into different levels: internal or departmental control; state or intergovernmental control and social control. In Nigeria, the most visible mechanism of police control is the department or internal control exercise through supervisors, commandant, office of IGP, Public Complaints Bureau in the police-public relations. In general, the citizens do not have absolute confidence in the police internal control. This is due to the fact that the police have on several instances proved to be infective and is normally vilified by press and the citizens for egregious breaches of human rights, like extrajudicial killings. In the US, the majority of the police departments have a more efficient internal system for identifying, investigating, adjudicating, as well as punishing cases of police misconduct. In Nigeria, internal mechanism of police accountability is seldom trusted by the general public due to the perceived culture of corruption. In spite the criticism of internal control, it is a feasible mechanism of accountability in the police since strict internal discipline is a crucial instrument for accountability and a vehicle for promoting police-community rapport. In the US, accountability or investigation may cover broad issues, like deadly police shooting (Hills 216).
The narration of post-independence volatility along with totalitarianism fashioned a state of uncountable states that lacked popular legality along with reinforced the culture of police cruelty and human rights abuses. Leaders in Nigeria alternatively utilized the police to execute their power, as well as intentionally weakened the Nigeria Police Force to stop its participation in coups. Successive military administrations co-opted and passionately used the police to maintain their dictatorships hugely due to the police only had countrywide security presence and license to apply violence. To stop coups, succeeding military administrations destroyed the communications networks of the police department, botched to finance the police purposely, and with the revision of the Police Act in 1967, operational control of the police force was centralized and placed in the hands of the president (Human Rights Watch 12). Thus, these strategies politicized the police force, despoiled its operational efficiency along with declined the NPF’s repute as a professional institution. This culture that was created has undermined the democratic policing and promotes human rights violations by the police officers.
Similar to Nigeria, US police departments are accountable to many agencies of state comprising legislative, executive, as well as judicial. However, in Nigeria this has not improved accountability of the police and there are many human rights abuse as compared to the US. Human rights violation in Nigeria by the police has been reported by the media in the last few decades that undermine the democratic principles professed by the Nigerian authorities. Human rights violation in Nigeria and respect for fundamental rights of citizens by the police is poor. The anti-robbery police fighters have been at the center of frequent human right violators as they commit extra judicial killings in apprehension, as well as detention of crime suspects. The respect for human rights should be the basis for building las6ing justice, as well as peace. Though democracy is not about utopia, it is about the hope of citizens to live freely as individuals in a society, which maintains the promise of justice and liberty for all, and about commonly held values of equality and freedom. Because of the recurrent violations of human right by the police in Nigeria, the confidence of the citizens and international community has been seriously tattered (Adekunle 651). The police have been accused of unprofessionalism, lack of transparency and accountability. Nigerians are not only living in the shadows of torture, but they are at present in the valley of death, in which the police are kill masters. Human rights violations by the police in democratic Nigeria have not in any way decreased, but rather, impunity for human rights violations thrives as the Nigerian government remains unwilling to go past lip service to human right reform in the democratic age of the nation. Human rights violation by the police in Nigeria reflect in extra judicial killings of citizens, arbitrary arrest along with detention, torture plus other brutal inhuman or degrading, application for and other abuses. This means that the lack of deliberate endeavor to guarantee accountability and transparency for breaches committed by the police force (Prenzler & Janet 47).
On the contrary, the police in Nigeria should not be blamed for the many issues that entail human rights abuses than in the US. In many instances, the police officers in Nigeria should not be blamed with the recurrent lack of accountability and transparency in the force. The government has not addressed the structural challenges that make the police to violate the human rights. The Nigerian administration along with the police leadership has on several instances recognized several of the challenges affecting the police. Poor training, working conditions, as well as remuneration-plus nonexistent infrastructure for communications, probe, as well as internal accountability-inspire a custom of police brutality besides an unbearably greater tendency for police violence. This tradition has made the police to carry on violating the basic human rights by violating the principles as provided in the Constitution. These elements create traditions of voracious policing and police-for-hire where the police habitually resort to unlawful and brutal techniques in the handling the suspects in addition to captives or use their positions via corrupt confessions from suspects to increase their official wages (Yakubu 53). Nonetheless, this is no the case in the US where there is proper working conditions, training and attractive salary to the police officers.
In conclusion, it is clear that despite the shortcomings by the inability of the government and other players to address the plights of the police in Nigeria, there is evident that the police have continued to abuse human rights. However, the US police system has internal controls that promote police accountability (Okechukwu 54). There have been massive violations of human rights where the police officers lack accountability and transparency, in addition to respect of human rights in Nigeria. This has continued to undermine the core principles of democratic policing that should promote the spirit of the policing in Nigeria. The behavior along with operations of NPF bear nearly no similarity to the provisions of Nigerian rule. Distant from safeguarding human life, safety, as well as safety, police endangers them. There is the need for urgent measures to return policing to the route of fairness, accountability, transparency, propriety, along with public self-assurance.
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