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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Community Policing as a Panacea to Insecurity in Rural Communities – By Michael Ogungbemi 

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At a time like this when incidents of crime and criminal activities permeate the nooks and crannies of the country, it is expedient that Government at all levels should adopt and enforce Community Policing not only to find a panacea for internal insecurity and insurgence but also enhance peace and sustainable growth in the rural communities in the country.
Community policing or community-oriented  policing, is a strategy of policing that focuses on building ties and working closely with members of the community.
Community policing is defined as involving three key components
a. Developing community partnership
b. Engaging in problem solving
c. Implementing community policing organisational features.
Community-oriented policing involves officers and men of the security apparatus partnering with  their communities security system (village hunters, night watchmen and vigilantes) in a strategic policing tactics and methods  in such areas as:
1. Information gathering (volunteer information on  suspicious characters /activities)
2.  Surveillance (making use of private guards and neighborhood watch groups for monitoring)
3.  Patrolling (supplementing police patrol)
If the community vigilante groups are appropriately funded, exposed to related security trainings and  equipped with the needed resources and security gadgets, it will help solve problems and to attack the core problems that lead to crime in the first place. It will further foster better relations between security forces and communities they serve.
Well known security studies have identified three main policing styles as:
 1. Watch man
2. Legalistic
3. Service styles.
The watch man style places emphasis on maintaining order through an informal methods with focus on resolving disputes, but not on preventing disputes. It is just to keep peace, which is popular in rural, small town communities.
2. Legalistic style:
This style places emphasis on violators of law and relies on threats of arrest or actual arrests with focus on resolving disputes as enforcers of criminal laws and setting order. It adopts formal methods, popular in large cities.
3. Services style places much emphasis on the enlightenment and  education of criminals before prosecution and eventual prosecution of criminals who cannot be redeemed through  alternative disputes resolution.
The community oriented policing works effectively in creating understanding  between the security forces and community security networks about their roles in crime preventions, supplement security patrols through private guards and neighborhood watch groups, education, capacity building, enhancing national security personnel and members  of the community security network to enable constructive participation in addressing the problem of crime, and share responsibilities with regards to safety and security needs.
Member,
Police Community Relation Committee PCRC
Ekiti State.

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