is not a new phenomenon. It has always existed from time immemorial. Crime can
be said to be socially constructed because, the society defines crime. Every neighborhood
or community we find ourselves in, we discover that they have their own way of
life which invariably determines the laws that they follow and which also
determines what they know as good or bad. An act cannot be known as a criminal act if the
society does not collectively agree that it is. For example, rape is a violent act
and it is also a universal act which society as a whole sees as a crime or even
still, a mental illness. Some societies take things more seriously than other
societies, for example, in the Unites States of America, speeding is seen as a
deviant act, but places like Nigeria, the is no legal body available to control
speeding, that is why we see that, as The Vanguard Newspaper states, as at
2017, 1070 Nigerians died because of road accident. Society plays an important
role in defining crime as this is needed making laws of the society which will
prevent crime (as defined by the society) 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, stealing, murder etc, they would not be
seen as crime and no law would be made on that, although, it is morally
incorrect. Therefore, crime is relative to the society.
makeup of crime is based upon the interaction of four key elements, which is
also known as the chemistry of crime. These elements or components are
A possible target and
absence of a guardian.
crime to be said to occur, these elements have to interact together.
to criminologist, crime has two major elements which are:
The criminal act
The criminal intent, also known as
These elements are important because
they determine what we know as crime. If any of these elements are absent, then
crime would cease to exist.
Like every other society or country in the
world, Nigeria as a county is no exception when it comes to crime and delinquency.
Every day we are faced with one criminal act or the other, be it fraud, murder,
bombing, armed robbery and the likes. Nigeria has been on the global crime map
since 1980. 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.
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.
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 &
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.
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:
The protection of life and property
Detection and prevention of crime;
Apprehension of offenders;
Preservation of law and order
The due enforcement of law regulations with which they are directly charged.