Community policing in Nigeria: an ethnography of police experiences, actions, and practices

Famosaya, Olubunmi Paul (2018) Community policing in Nigeria: an ethnography of police experiences, actions, and practices. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

Since its inception in 2004, the implementation of community policing has been regarded to as a failed strategy, (Ado-Siro, 2016; Ikuteyijo 2014; Johnson 2013; Arisukwu & Okunola 2013; Okesola & Mudaire 2013; Ejiogu 2011). As a result, there has been an ongoing debate within police studies as to how practitioners, policy makers and academics can best understand factors impeding the success of this initiative as well as the possible ways through which partnership goals can be achieved. Crucially, previous research claim that the failure of community policing can be linked to factors such as; the post-military junta mentality of the police institution, the centralized nature of the police force, the crises of institutionalized corruption, economic crises, weak oversight structures, as well as the politicized nature of the police institution. What is clear however is that the approach through which past research have adopted in analysing the failure of community policing in Nigeria narrows the research lens – particularly where attention have continuously focused on public and media perceptions of the police, but where the voices of the police themselves have remained silent. In what has recently become ‘the new ethnography of police’ – particularly at international studies, it is proposed that in order to have a deeper understanding into the issues fuelling negative interactions between the police and the citizens, there is a need to incorporate ethnographic measures and to focus directly on the police themselves, how they support the initiative, how they conceive and perceive the initiative and how they themselves might have been consciously or unconsciously impeding the success of community policing, (Faull 2017; O’Brien-Olinger 2016; Karpiak 2016; Porter & Alpert 2017; IIan 2016; Fassin 2013). This is one area of study that have received limited attention in the Nigeria research. As a result, this study began an ethnographic study during the 2015 presidential election over the course of ten months in the South-Western region of Nigeria, riding-along with patrol officers in their vehicle, sharing the life of the police station and that of the training college in an attempt to understand the everyday experiences of police officers, their perception of community policing and the various dynamics fuelling the everyday negative interactions between the police and the citizens.

Recounting incidents enroute – particularly those characterised by the daily confrontations with the ‘Bastards’ and the ‘Witches’, the eventless days where police officers create actions for themselves by launching illegal road blocks to extort money from motorists and where affronts and mutual forms of disrespect – shaped by offensive languages from both parties seem to be reinforcing the oppositions and disconnections that generate strong emotions – including the criminal racketeering of patrolmen as well as the brutal experiences of the police training college, where poverty leads patrolmen doubting their self-worth, this study offers fresh and important insights into how we understand social conflicts and the present state of community policing in Nigeria – and by extension, in Africa.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
B. > Theses
Item ID: 26690
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 30 May 2019 11:26
Last Modified: 31 May 2019 15:21
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26690

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