Crime major principles which are public wrong, moral wrong,

Crime
has always existed from the beginning of time. From the beginning of the
nineteenth century, three broad perspectives have contributed to the
explanation of crime. Early in the century, crime was thought to be a product
of urban squalor, poor parenting and poverty. Crime today is a major problem of
both public and private concern.

Crime
is like other concepts in social sciences, which have no generally accepted
definition. At first sight, it seems easy to define crime as doing something
wrong or relating crime to immorality. Is there any agreement over what is
morally wrong or right? Should all moral wrongs be crimes? It could also be
asked whether all crimes are moral wrongs. 

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 Dambazau (1994), defined crime as “an act or
omission against public interest, and which is prescribed by law enacted by the
legislature in the overall interests of the society, and to which prescribed
punishment is attached in the event of violation and it involves four major
principles which are public wrong, moral wrong, law and punishment for the
criminal. Crime is also seen as a violation of the rules agreed to be respected
by all members of the society, and upon which the rest members of the society
meet sanctions that the legal system views crime as a public and moral wrong”.

 Mathews (1993) says, “Crimes are the outcome
of social changes, which is brought about by social developments and exposure
of Nigerians to the Western culture and their life style”. According to Oxford
Dictionary of Sociology (2009:139) “a crime is held to be an offence, which
goes beyond the personal and into the public sphere, breaking prohibitory rules
or laws, to which legitimate punishments or sanctions are attached, and which
requires the intervention of a public authority… for crime to be known as such,
it must come to the notice of, and be processed through, an administrative
system or enforcement agency. It must be reported and recorded by the police
(or other investigator); it may then become part of criminal statistics; may or
may not be investigated; and may or may not result in a court case.”

Crime
is a socially constructed phenomenon. Its meaning is profoundly influenced by
considerations of time and space. Its construction is based upon the
interaction of four key elements, which is also known as the chemistry of
crime. These elements or components are – the victims, the offenders, a
possible target and the absence of a guardian. For crime to be said to occur,
these elements have to interact together.  

 Criminologists infer that crime has two major
elements, – criminal act which is either a commission or an omission and mental
element which is called the criminal intent, which is the rationality of the
criminal. Both of the elements may pose serious threat to the physical, mental
health, life and property. Therefore, crimes must have these two elements and
if either of them is lacking, then there is no crime.

 Crime is basically defined through the eyes of
the society. An act is not a crime until society dooms it to be and if society
considers some acts, not opposed to their group sentiments, then that act is
not a crime at all. Crime is an act which offends and threatens the society.
Therefore, those act needs to be punished. The basic reason behind the making
of law is to take punitive measures on those who commit the crime and these
laws are the result of society’s need to stop the happening of such act.

For
example, witchcraft much earlier was considered as a crime and was punishable.
At that time, people were very religious and believed in black magic or
witchcraft and thought that witchcraft was a crime and those who practice it should
be persecuted. In a strict legal sense, crime is the breaking of rules or laws
for which some governing authority, such as legal systems, can ultimately
prescribe a conviction.

Crime
in the social and legal framework is the set of facts or assumptions that are
part of a case in which there were committed acts punishable under criminal
law, and the application of which depends on the agent of a sentence or
security measure criminal. In criminal law, crime is an act of omission which
attracts sanctions such as fines, imprisonment or even death. 

Furthermore,
a normative definition views crime as a deviant behavior that violates
prevailing norms – cultural standards prescribing how human beings ought to
behave normally. This approach considers the complex realities surrounding the
concept of crime and seeks to understand how changing social, political,
psychological and economic conditions may affect the current definitions of
crime and the form of legal, law enforcement and penal responses made by society

Society
plays an important role in defining crime as this leads to making of law which
will prevent crime from taking place. Society’s outlook on the particular act
is important in defining crime because, for example, if society doesn’t
consider giving bribe, it would not be counted as crime and no law would be
made on that, although, it is morally incorrect. Therefore, crime is relative.

Every
society across the globe has its peculiar problems and challenges. Nigeria is
not an exception. As a developing country, she faces her own share of social,
political, economic and cultural problems which has in no small measure
affected the well-being of the populace. One of such problems bedeviling the
country is the rising wave of crime. Nigeria has been on the global crime map
since 1980.

Violent
crimes in Nigeria have created doubt in the security of lives, property and the
society at large. Crimes such as murder, robbery, killing, rituals, hired
assassinations, rape, child abuse, arson, kidnapping, money laundering,
internet scam, drug adulteration, gambling, smuggling, are examples of serious
crimes which are prevalent in our world today and especially in Nigeria.

 These days, criminals are getting more and
more methodological in the manner to which they carry out criminal acts
physically, (via the use of weapons and man power), psychologically, for
instance, hypnosis is used to commit crimes, and scientifically, via the use of
devices and the internet. For example white collar crimes have become rampant.
It refers to financially motivated nonviolent crime committed by business and
government professionals, it was first defined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland
in 1939 as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social
status in the course of his occupation” What is troubling is the new dimension
in methodological criminal acts in Nigeria which involves acts of terrorism and
sabotage against individuals and social environments.

 Incidents such as a case in which some
individual were stalked and eventually trapped in uncompleted buildings,
basements or even car trunks  depict the
viciousness of violent criminals. These acts are usually well planned,
orchestrated, syndicated and organized in the mafia-type fashion.

 

In
Nigeria, to control and stop these types of crime, three bodies are responsible
for the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria. These bodies are: the
court, the police and the prison. The Nigerian civil police force is made up
of; custom, immigration and prison enforcement. According to section 194 of the
1979 constitution, the Nigerian Police Force is appointed with jurisdiction
throughout the country.

Other
branches of the police force protect the harbor, waterways, railways and
airfields. The Nigerian police force performs typical police functions and is
responsible for internal security.

The views that
citizens have about the police are important. These views can influence the
degree and type of interaction people have with the police and the degree of
support provided to the police (Cao & Dai, 2006). Without public support,
modern policing is difficult, if not impossible (Islam & Ali, 2008).
Positive views of the police by citizens can lead to a positive relationship
with the police, which can improve the effectiveness of the police (Brown &
Benedict, 2002).

Negative views can
lead to resentment, which can impede the ability of the police to be effective
formal agents of law and order (Goldsmith, 2005). Policing views are,
therefore, important to explore and understand (Nalla & Madan, 2011). While
there is a growing body of research on policing views, the vast majority of
studies have focused on Western nations, especially the United States (Brown,
Benedict, & Wilkinson, 2006; Cao & Dai, 2006).

 

There are numerous
nations across the globe in which there is a scarcity of research on people’s
views of the police. The primary functions of the police are detection and
prevention of crime as well as preservation of law and order. The police have
constitutional powers of ensuring the prevalence of law and order and the
preservation of public peace. According to Bittner (190:38-44), a police
officer is any person who is principally concerned with law enforcement and
crime control, and only incidentally concerned with an infinite variety of
other socio-political matters.

The
1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria confer on the police force
powers and duties for effective oversight and accountability similarly, the
Police Act charge the force with the general duties of:

i.
The protection of life and property

ii.
Detection and prevention of crime;

iii.
Apprehension of offenders;

iv.
Preservation of law and order

v.
The due enforcement of law regulations with which they are directly charged.

 

Performance
of such other military duties within and without Nigeria as may be required of
them by or under the authority of any other Act. The law has clothed the
Nigeria Police with enviable powers in the sphere of administration of justice,
preservation of law, order and maintenance of national tranquility. The section
from the 1999 Constitution provides that the Police shall be organized and
administered in accordance with such provisions as may be prescribed by the Act
of the National Assembly.

In
exercise of them constitutional powers conferred on the National Assembly, the
National Assembly enacted the Police Act. In the exercise of its primary
powers, the Police also act in other spheres which are necessarily incidental
to the exercise of the actual powers of the police. For instance, in the
exercise of the primary duty of the police under section 4 of the Police Act,
the Act gives the Police the power of public prosecution.

 

By
these powers, the police can charge and prosecute any person suspected to have
committed a crime before any court of law in Nigeria. In the bid to create a
favorable condition for the discharge of the duty of the police; the Police Act
has also given the police the power to arrest any person suspected to have
committed a crime with or without warrants.

The
Police by the provision of the Act are also empowered to detain any person
reasonably suspected to be in possession or carrying stolen property, or
property that is reasonably believed to be unlawfully obtained. For the purpose
of forensic investigation, the law empowers the police to take finger prints.
It should, however, be noted that the exercise of these numerous powers
conferred on the police has to be discharged with due regards to reasonability
and decorum. Any exercise of such powers in contravention of procedures
accepted practice and the rights of individuals would be rendered ultra-vires
null and void. This is importantly so as individual rights are also
fundamentally guaranteed by the same Constitution that gives powers on the
police.

 

1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

With
the numerous functions of the Nigerian police and the power conferred to them
by the Nigerian constitution, how effective are the Nigerian police in the
carrying out of their basic functions and duties? What do they do on a daily
basis to enhance the state of the nation? How corrupt are they perceived to
be?  What steps can be taken to reduce
corruption in the police force? These questions and so many others are
difficult to answer because of the many challenges and problems that has eaten
into the Nigerian police force, problems like lack of adequate scientific
equipment’s for detecting crime and security like CCTV cameras, collection of
bribes, illiteracy of police officers, inadequate transportation, lack of
motivation, failure to train police officers well has led to untimely death of
both criminal and victim…these problems are reducing the confidence of the
general public in the Nigerian police force. People do not respect the police
because of the general belief that the police are corrupt and do not deserve
the due respect. Imagine a house being robbed and d police is called and they
do not arrive for hours. People do not feel safe anymore even in the comfort of
their homes, they sleep with one eye open and ears alert. Today, even before
going to church, people would have to think twice, especially in the Northern
part of Nigeria. This is an irresponsible act which occurs on a daily basis.
The Nigerian police slogan goes thus: “THE POLICE IS YOUR FRIEND”. But, come to
think of it, are they really? People do not believe in the police, maybe due to
the past experiences they have had with the police or other reasons best known
to them. The public perception of the police in Nigeria has greatly affected
the level of support given to the police by community members in fighting
crime. As a result of this, many hold back from giving important information
which could have helped to checkmate crime to the police. Public participation
is very important in assisting the police to achieve the desired effective
crime prevention and control but people have refused to cooperate with the
police.

 

1.2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

This
study is to find out the perception of people of the effectiveness of the
Nigerian Police Force in crime control in Akute, are of Ogun State. This study
is designed;

1)      To
identify the basic functions of policing in Nigeria

2)      To
examine the deficiency of the police in the discharge of their functions

3)      To
examine the Nigerian Police alertness and response to various crime situations
in the community

4)      To
find out if corruption has contributed to the inefficiency of the police

5)      To
propose solutions

 

1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1)      To
what extent does the Nigerian police force perform their functions?

2)      What
are the deficiencies of the police in the discharge of their functions?

3)      How
do the Nigerian Police respond to crime situations in the community?

4)      Has
corruption contributed to the inefficiency of the police?

5)      What
are the possible solutions

 

1.4 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESIS

Based
on the objective of the study, the main hypothesis that will be used in
carrying out the research of the study is as follows

H1:
There is a relationship between public cooperation and police performance in
crime control.

H2:
There is no relationship between public cooperation and police performance in
crime control.