PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT IN THE NIGERIAN POLICE

ABSTRACT: The core objective of this study was to investigate public relations for management in the Nigerian police. The study investigates the internal and external problems of Nigerian police and how the police public relations officer has succeeded or failed in resolving problems. Problems such as the welfare of the police, its relationship with the public and how the police manage crowd and crisis in Enugu State. Survey research method was adopted with questionnaire as the instrument to elicit responses from the respondents. Findings drawn from the study revealed positive that police serving in Enugu faces internal and external problems such as poor salary, poor equipments at home and offices, insufficient accommodation, poor medical care and poor relationship with the publics; which makes it difficult for the police to manage crisis due to inadequate information from the publics. The study therefore recommended that police should stop extortion, bribery and corruption, brutality, aiding and abating crimes because of their position in the society. The publics should contribute positively to give vital information to the police to fight against crisis. The Police Public Relations Department should handle the internal and external problems through their cordial relationship with the press. Finally the government should take serious maintenance of the police in their welfare, so that they would take their work seriously.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of study

            Communication is a basic human need and for that reason, man has always found a means of satisfying this need. It is believed that no human society can function effectively if there is no exchange of ideas, experiences, etc between and among the people within the society since no man can live in isolation of others.

            It is through the communication that facts, opinions, ideas, knowledge are shared, it is through the information that people get enlightened, informed and educated. Imagine a life without information, the society will be in total darkness because information is a light that illuminate darkness as “A well-informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and vice…” (Radcliffe, n.d).

            Communication and information are veritable ingredients in our society, from family, school, group, small organisation to a very complex institution like the Nigeria Police that carters for many publics. So from time to time, there will be a need for communication either in the horizontal or vertical directions. There must just be communication which could take the form of recruitment announcement, promotion, police success, police counter attack etc which could emanated from any of the followings place, Police Public Relations Officer, Department of Force Logistics, Department of Information and Communication Technology. However, Police- Media-Relations is responsible for most of this communication and information.

Thus, British Institute of Public Relations defines public relations as a deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) cited in Arowosegbe, (2005) defines public relations as a distinctive management function which helps to establish and main mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and operation between an organization and its public.

            The International Public Relations Association of Mexico in North America cited in Arowosegbe (2005) defines public relations as the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organisations’ leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which serve both the organisation’s public interest.

            It is obvious that the work of Public relations is needed in almost every society, organisation whether profit or non-profit, whether governmental or non-governmental organisation. In fact, everyone who has things doing in the public domain must employ the service of Public relations. No wonder, Nigeria Police, Air-force, Navy, Army, Civil Defence among other cannot do without Public relations not only to build image but to offer the first hand information to the concerned people rather than allowing people or press to guess, insinuate and cook unpalatable information to the publics.

                Alienation exists because the police and society. Attempts have been made to bridge that gap between the police and the citizens. One often hears police officers say that the Community does not understand the role and how to inter-relate with the community. In the past, police considered themselves as pure administrative officer, enforcing law without discretion. But today police administration recognizes that discretion is an important role. As a result the police officer forgets his exact role in the force, because he uses discretion method.

             The Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) must be skilled in the management tool POSDCORB, which means Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting and Budgeting. He does these effectively with the cooperation and supervision of the State Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner of police and other senior police officers. Furthermore, the police public relations officer uses the press to enhance good relationship between the public’s and the Nigeria police Enugu.

            Before the independence of Nigeria in 1960, public relations practice was not popular. Economic, social and political awareness program and activities increased the knowledge of public relations. Public relations practices were introduced into Nigeria from Britain through the vehicle of colonialism. The introduction of public relations practice in Nigeria was done through the initiative of the colonial government and its obedient servants. Being and adjunct of journalism, public relations became an important element in public communication in the colonial days. The pioneers were already enjoying patronage of the people and those in government. The government felt the need for another branch of communication which would convey subtly, its feelings to the people without really going through the rigors of metal composition of communicative acts, during the Second World War (1940), the government urge for more channels of communication. It became more pronounced, especially in the need to present and analyze information about the war. This eventually led the government to establish an office of information.

             The British decided to employ the tactics of public relations through mobile cinemas, posters, television programs. These programs were aimed at sensitizing Nigerians on what they were doing for the benefit of the nation as well as what the colonialist expected of Nigerians in return.

            Since that time, public relations have been recognized as a profession in Nigeria and in other West Africa States. In 1949 United Africa Company became the first company to have public information unit. This is followed by the establishment of public relations unit by the Samuel Epelle served as the first public relations officer. In 1963, the Nigerian institute of public relation (NIPR) was established as a regulatory body for PR practice in Nigeria.

            The lack of adequate knowledge of public relations, as a career and the absence of its programs for understanding its practice hindered its growth in Nigerian organizations. Until recently when the Federal Republic of Nigeria promulgated Decree No. 16 of June, 1990 which upheld the practice of public relations in Nigeria. 

            The origin of the Police is a product of social crisis in the society. The word police is derived from the Greek word “polis” meaning that part of non ecclesiastical administration, having to do with safety and order of the state. Police work did not start as a paid profession. It started as a noble, incorruptible profession with considerable responsibility and distinction. It was the justice of the peace system in the society. The Nigeria, Police began with a thirty-member consul guard formed in Lagos colony is 1861, a 1,200-member armed paramilitary Hausa constabulary was formed.

            In 1896 the Lagos police was established. A similar force, the Niger coast constabulary was formed in Calabar in 1984 under the newly proclaimed Niger coast protectorate. In the north, the Royal Niger Company set up the Royal Niger company constabulary in 1888 with headquarters at Lokoja. When the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were proclaimed in the early 1900s, part of the Royal Niger Company constabulary became the Northern Nigerian police, and part of the Niger coast constabulary became the Southern Nigeria police. Northern and Southern Nigeria were amalgamated in 1914, but their police force (NPF) in lagos. During the colonial period, most police were associated with local government (native authorities). In the 1960s, under the First Republic, these forces were first regionalized and then nationalized.

The 1960 constitution established the Nigerian force as a Federal force charged with the responsibility for maintenance of law and order throughout Nigeria. The command of the Nigerian police force was under the Inspector General of Police (IGP). 

             Those of the regions were under the command of commissioners of police. Recently the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) dropped the “force” in its name and now answers Nigeria Police (Nigeria police is grouped into departments A-F. “A” department takes care of administration, personnel-promotion, dismissal, transfer, posting, medical budgeting, accounts, public relations and printing. “B” department to “F” have their own respective duties our major concern is “A” department where public relations belongs. There we look into the administration of police department. It is against this background that the research examines public relations as a tool for effective public management in the Nigerian Police especially now that the country is different crises and insecurity.

1.2       Statement of the problem

            Public relations practice, utilizes communication skills and strategies, in order to establish and maintain the several positive linkages among human beings, in the context of society to minimize and eliminate the negative attitudes and behavior.

            If the citizens do not trust the police, they will not talk to them. They would avoid police contact therefore, if distrust causes avoidance and failure to communicate, the implications for the police organization are really very dramatic. Citizens will not report crime. They will not give statements to officers who are investigating crimes and they will not testify in court.

            When the police organization views the community, it has sworn to protect as a dangerous place full of people who are criminals. The police will be carefully guided when they have contact with the citizens they are expected to be protecting.

             This study will look into the internal and external problems of the Nigeria police and how the police public relations officer has succeeded or failed in resolving problems. Problems such as the welfare of the police, its relationship with the public and how the police manage crowd and crisis in Enugu; would be treated.

1.3       Objectives of the study

     The objectives of the study are as follows:

  1. To examine the general welfare of the police in Enugu state.
  2. To ascertain the credibility and image of Nigerian Police in Enugu state
  3. To determine how cordial the relationship between the police and press in Enugu state exist.
  4. To ascertain how police handle crowd and crisis management in Enugu state.

1.4       Research Questions

  1. To what extent do the poor living conditions and welfare of the police affect their performance?
  2. To what extent do the police brutality and extortion damage their image to the public?
  3. How cordial is the relationship between the police, the press and the public?
  4. To what extent do the Nigeria police effectively handle and manage crowd and crisis?

1.6       Scope of the Study

            The study which examines public relations as a tool for effective public management in the Nigerian Police Force has been narrowed in scope to the Nigeria Police Enugu due to its proximity to the researcher, inadequate time to study all police station in Nigeria among other logistics. Thus, the geographical scope of this study will be within Enugu state. Also, the demographic factors of the respondents will carefully study before the administration of research instrument such factors includes: age, gender, academic level e.t.c.

1.7       Significance of study

This study will help the management to resolve crisis through maintaining effectively public relations. Conditions of living and service will improve to reducing bribery, corruption and extortion on the road. 

Further beneficiaries are the public and the press. The masses will understand how hard the police are working and cooperate with them in combating crime. The media will be used in sanitizing, educating and mobilizing the public towards police efforts to polices the effectively. 

 Through the research findings, it would point out the plight of the Nigeria police and take steps to improve their conditions of living.

If these observations are taken into consideration, the image, reputation, respect, trust and dignity of the police will be restored, making it possible and easy for future research to do it better.

 

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms

Public relations: This refers to a department in the Nigerian police that are saddled with the responsibility of keeping good relationship between the Nigeria Police and its various publics. The department is also responsible for communicating the Nigeria Police Force activities.

 Tool: This means Nigerian Police Force should see effective public relations as a means of promoting their image and managing public sentiments.

Nigerian Police Force: This is one of the agencies of the government that is saddled with domestic and internal security by prevent, curb and arrest any an rest situation and whoever is behind the unrest.

Public Management: This is the act of ensuring that the public have good perception of the Nigeria police while the police is also expected to conduct themselves well in the eyes of the public so that their image can be credible.    

                                     

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PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT

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