Public Confidence in the Police and Crime Reporting Practices of Victims in Lagos, Nigeria

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: Booth 58
Oral Presentation
Johnson AYODELE , Department of Sociology, Lagos State University, Nigeria
Despite government’s recent huge budgetary investment in the police, the level of public confidence in the police continues to decline with corresponding fall in crime reporting by victims and witnesses of crime. This paper therefore examines the influence of public confidence in the police on crime reporting practices and associated factors for the absence of public confidence, among residents of Lagos, Nigeria.

Both quantitative and qualitative methods were adopted. Multistage sampling procedure was used in selecting 948 respondents for the survey. Six In-Depth Interviews, 12 Key Informant Interviews and 10 Case Studies were conducted with divisional crime officers, crime victims, victims’ relations, traditional rulers, landlord associations and religious leaders to elicit complementary qualitative data. Data analysis involved the use of simple percentages, chi square and content analysis.

Findings indicated bribery (51.4%), ineffectiveness (49.1%), corruption (48.1%), lack of integrity (47.4%), complicity in crime (40.0%) and nonchalance (33.3%) as some of the factors responsible for declining public confidence in the police. Besides, rural dwellers have more confidence in the police than their semi-urban and urban counterparts. Thus, crime reporting diminishes in intensity from rural through semi-urban to urban communities of Lagos State. Though there is no significant association between public confidence and crime reporting, victims’ fear of offender revenge, crime and court processes, crime location and socio-cultural conditions of victims are responsible for low crime reporting in the study area.

The study concluded that declining confidence in the police results from the failure of the regulatory body to enforce professional ethics among personnel. This negligence has caused the reluctance of citizens to engage with the police to tackle crimes by making local intelligence available through crime reporting. Therefore, the study suggests that the police commission should enforce police codes of ethics and retool the police to earn public approval of their services.