Criminal Profiling And It’s Relevance In The Nigerian Criminal Justice System

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

Criminal Profiling And It’s Relevance In The Nigerian Criminal Justice System


Abstract


The Nigerian criminal justice system is not entirely ignorant or unaware of the use and the merits of the application of criminal profiling as a tool in crime investigation. However, criminal profiling in Nigeria has not nearly reached the level of recognition, functionality or institutionalization that it has attained in other jurisdictions.

This study aims to increase the awareness, explore the import, feasibility and the practicality of offender profiling in criminal acts especially those of violent and sexual nature with particular focus on the Nigerian criminal justice system. It will also give an expository critique of the loopholes and impediments in the system and ways criminal profiling can fill up these holes.

The research methods employed in this study includes a combination of both primary and secondary sources. These primary sources include various legislations relating to the criminal justice system in Nigeria and other jurisdictions and countries most especially the USA and the UK. Legislations such as the Criminal Code, The Police Act and the 1999 Constitution will be referred to. Secondary sources include references to textbooks, journals and articles written by leading authors and scholars in the area of criminal and offender profiling. Online articles, journals, abstracts and books will also serve as a secondary information source in this study.

The effectiveness of this field is greatly highlighted in this thesis with the view that criminal investigative analysis will be effectively immersed into the justice system and receive as much recognition as it has in other jurisdictions especially in the US and in major parts of Europe. The question whether or not criminal profiling can be absorbed and modified to suit Nigeria is one which this project attempts to resolve, and if not, why.


Chapter Five


5.0 Summary, Recommendation and Conclusion

5.1 Summary

Having examined the resources, training, skill and technology as well as the general sophistication of the Police Force that Criminal Profiling requires, the question of whether or not criminal profiling as an investigative tool can be adopted in Nigeria‘s policing system is one that renders us susceptible to a hasty conclusion of impossibility. However, although this project seeks to eventually determine the relevance of criminal profiling in the Nigerian criminal justice system, this conclusion is to be reached only by a thorough consideration of the factors involved as well as peculiar features of the Nigerian criminal justice system.

It is submitted that criminal profiling can work in Nigeria. However, certain issues must first be addressed for this to be possible and successful like those in other foreign jurisdictions.


5.2 Recommendations

From the discussions in the preceding chapters, it is clear that criminal profiling is of considerable importance to our criminal justice system in Nigeria since it has the potential of enriching the ability of the Nigeria Police Force to investigate, unravel and combat crimes more effectively. It is also clear that although it may be difficult, it is not impossible for criminal profiling to be successfully adopted and implemented in the Nigerian police system. However, the following are some of the issues that must be addressed:

5.2.1 Ideology

The idea that certain kinds or degrees of crimes are uniquely western phenomena seems to pervade our minds as Nigerians, whether civilian or military. It seems to be a common Nigerian mindset that such crimes as serial homicide, for example, are an inevitable result of decadent capitalism, the breakdown of the family which in turn has given rise to alienated and delinquent persons who eventually become criminals. It is very possible that there are fewer serial offences in Nigeria compared to other parts of the world. However, it is a well-known fact that must be reiterated here that evil is not a cultural phenomenon but a human one. Also, in the absence of reliable facts as a result of our poor record keeping culture and the fact that many crimes go unreported, it is difficult to authoritatively assert any position as such assertions would at best, amount to mere assumptions and conjecture. It is important therefore that awareness should be created and such myopic ideologies should be corrected and prevented especially among officers of the Nigeria Police Force.

5.2.2 Boost Public Confidence in the Nigeria Police

In Nigeria, many crimes are unreported. There is a direct relationship between the way the public perceives the police and the confidence the public has in the police. It is therefore safe to assume that if the relationship between the police and the members of the public is repaired and rendered relatively hostility-free, the citizenry would have more confidence in the police and report crimes more willingly.

5.2.3 Abolition of the Barracks Model of Residence

The barracks model of residence for the police should be done away with. Living among civilians would further integrate police officers into the society and bridge the precarious gap in relations between civilians and military personnel.

5.2.4 The Computerization of the Nigeria Police Force

Many times, reported crimes are not properly recorded and many records are not properly kept. The Nigeria police force should be upgraded such that the digital storage of information is undertaken. A database should be created such that it has up to date information on crimes as well as digitally stored criminal records which would greatly facilitate investigations as well as contribute immensely to the proper handling of crimes and criminals. Also, this would be a giant step towards the decongestion of prisons as many prisoners are incarcerated without just cause and without proper records. Training on the value of information and proper collation of data should also be organized for the members of the police, beginning at the recruitment stage.

5.2.5 Computer Literacy and Soft Skills Programmes for the Members of the Nigeria Police

The computerization of the Nigeria Police operations is long overdue thus, along with the upgrade into the world of digital information system, computer and soft skills trainings451 must also be provided and made mandatory for police officers. This will greatly enhance their efficiency.

5.2.6 Independent Supervision of the Disbursement of Funds Allocated to the Nigeria Police Force.

Appropriate authorities must begin to ask questions concerning how and why the Nigeria Police Force is perpetually cash-trapped. The police receives its due allocation to cover its expenditure however, the disbursement of these funds are unsupervised or under supervised. The Nigeria police force has been reduced to an organization perpetually living off charity and this is as undesirable as it is unconscionable. One way to check this would be to require by law that periodical publications of expenditure and disbursements should be publicly rendered and attested to. However, there may be security risks in publicly declaring what could be the weaknesses of the police.

Thus, an independent panel may be set up and empowered to oversee and supervise the disbursement of funds received by the police. At the administrative level, no individual should have full control over matters of distribution of funds. Even the Inspector General‘s authority should be subject to the approval of this panel which will act just like the board of directors in a company.

5.2.7 Funding

The police desperately needs a holistic economic upgrade if any improvement is to be achieved. This must reflect in the recruitment, training, infrastructural facilities especially forensic training and facilities, equipment, maintenance, remuneration and general welfare of the Nigeria Police Force and its members. The fact that this upgrade is capital intensive is well appreciated. However, every Kobo it costs will be worth it as the need for effective policing is indispensable. There should be the provision of bigger and better police stations, more patrol vehicles, communication gadgets, sophisticated weapons, well equipped laboratories, among other facilities.

Such as Interpersonal skills, team player skills, problem solving skills, conflict management skills, and communication skills among others, encouraging innovation, motivation, planning and organization.

5.2.8 Remuneration and Incentives.

The remuneration in terms of salaries and allowances that accrue to the officers of the police should be increased but there is a need for more than salary increments. Incentives such as scholarships for the children of police officers and effective public health schemes would go a long way in improving the lives of these officers as well as those of their families and the society at large. Tougher sanctions may hereafter be justifiably imposed on police officers for misbehavior.

5.2.9 Professionalizat1on of the Police.

The professionalization of the police would be another huge step in the right direction. The first point of call would be the minimum requirement for recruitment into the force. The minimum should be a first degree, preferably from the social sciences. This will ensure that newly recruited officers come from a healthy educational background and that training and re-training would have more value. This also plays a huge role in the orientation of the police force. Relatively well paid and well trained university graduates are very unlikely to extort road users/law breakers, accept bribes or mount illegal road blocks on the streets as we have today. In fact, they are more likely to feel insulted and embarrassed by the current trends of bribery and extortion by the police.

5.2.10 Training and Retraining

The training needs of the Nigeria Police Force should be determined. For example, the core functions of the police are crime prevention, crime control, law enforcement, prosecution and assistance to citizens in distress. Crime control and prevention, and law enforcement requite skills in surveillance, intelligence and investigation. Therefore, there should be emphasis on the training of officers in these core areas. Effective training in these areas requires adequate forensic and surveillance facilities (communication, transportation, electronic monitoring devices) in the country. This is not the case at present. Further, facilities and competences in intelligence and investigation like handwriting, ballistic and fingerprinting analyses are currently lacking. There is need to analyze training needs in the light of the functions of the police and expected level of efficiency. The findings should guide training policy and programmes.

Professionals should be employed by the Police Force. Availability of highly skilled personnel within an organization increases effectiveness and efficiency as a result of mutual reinforcement of experience and improved skills acquired through job-related training. This also has the potential to increase employee job satisfaction and career development.

5.2.11 Competitive Admission and Recruitment Processes.

A restriction should be placed also on the vacancies available in the Force. This way, healthy competition would ensure that the best get admitted and recruited into the Nigeria Police Force.

The reforms needed to transform the Nigeria Police Force into a model police are inexhaustible within the scope of this work. However, with the implementation and subsequently, the maintenance of the contents of the above recommendations, the ability of the Nigeria Police Force to incorporate Criminal Profiling as an investigative tool to enhance our crime combating potential is not in doubt at all.

It has become evident that the ultimate goal of achieving a criminal justice system which not only appreciates the import of criminal profiling as an investigative tool but also, conceives and effectively utilizes it, requires that all hands must be on deck. Police officers, arms, levels and parastatals of government, other law enforcement agencies, the various sectors, citizens in general and even the academia.

The quality of police services that we desire in Nigeria may not be realizable within a timeframe as short as two or three years but continuous adherence to the basic principles and recommendations above, among others, would undoubtedly chart our course towards the attainment of sustainable reformation.


5.3 Conclusion

The relevance of criminal profiling as an investigative tool in the criminal justice system cannot be over-emphasized and the Nigerian criminal justice system cannot overlook the very essence of this field. Long overdue unsolved and mysterious cases that have gone cold may not have been so if criminal profiling had been used to determine the offenders behind them. Nigeria has had its own fair share of unsolved criminal cases that have been dropped for lack of material evidence and this has been a major reason behind the poor public perception of the justice system.

After a critical examination of issues and several cases in this study, it is concluded that offender profiling is a very important tool in criminal investigations. It is also submitted that profiling of habitual, serial and violent offenders would enhance the effectiveness of criminal investigations in Nigeria.

With the contents of this thesis, It is hoped that the effectiveness of this field has been highlighted and that the use of criminal investigative analysis will be effectively immersed into the Nigerian criminal justice system and receive as much recognition as it has in other jurisdictions especially in the United States of America and in major parts of Europe.


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