Public Relation As A Tool For Industrial Harmony
This study is necessitated by incessant complaints about the police, their shortcomings in combating crime, protection of life and property of the people. It is policing, extortion of the public by the police, brutality in the force, poor educational background and courtesy among members of the Nigeria police. Civilians quest to know how the Police Public Relations Department (PPRD) handle these internal and external problem through their cordial relationship with the press promoted this research. These and more are researched and presented in this study.
Webster’s Dictionary defines public relations as the promotion of rapport and goodwill between a person, firm, or institution and other persons, special publics, or the community at large through the distribution of interpretative material, the development of neighbouring interchange, and the assessment of public reaction. The police rely upon the general public reaction. The police rely upon the general public for a minimum of level of support or non-interference to accomplish their mission. Public information is perhaps the most routines activity in which the police, and most other organizations engage. It is a strongly held value in our culture that the informed and educated citizens are the best participants in democratic government.
Alienation exists between the police and society, and attempts have been made to bridge the gap between the police and the citizens. One often hears police officers say that the community does not understand the role of the police. But why does this misunderstanding exist? Some commentators blame police; they argue that the police themselves fail to understand the police role, and how they relate with the community.
In the past, the police considered themselves as pure ministerial officers, enforcing the law evenly and without the use of discretion. Modern concepts of police administration recognize that discretion is an important part of the police role, yet the historical view point that the police must be impartial in the enforcement of the law still carries the most weight. As a result, the police officer himself, is confused about his exact role. This confusion alienates him from the citizenry because he cannot explain why he believes he should enforce the law impartially when, in actuality, he is practicing discretionary enforcement.
The police public relations office (PPRO) must be skilled in 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, assistant commissioners of police, officer the media radio, and television, magazine and newspaper organizations. The use of press by police public relations officer will enhance good relationship between the public and the Nigeria police in Enugu.
1.1 Background Of The Study
Before the independence of Nigeria in 1960, public relations practice was not popular because only a few Nigerians know what it was. Economics, social and political awareness, programme and activities increased the knowledge of public relations society of America and the institute of public relations were formed.
In Nigeria, public relations were introduced on 1st January, 1944 with the establishment of the first ever public relations office in the country though it was not popular. Even then, public relations office was embarrassingly linked with propaganda for want of better term in one form or another. The lack of adequate knowledge of public relations as a career and the absence of public relation programmes for understanding its practice hindered many Nigerian organizations until recently, when the Federal Republic of Nigeria promulgated Decree N0. 16 of June, 1990, establishing and upholding 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 the safety, health and order of the state. Policing and police work did not start as a paid profession. It started as a noble, incorruptible and distinction. It was the justices of the peace system, which corrupted the parish constable system.
The 1960 constitution established the Nigeria police force as a federal force charged with the responsibility for maintenance of law and order throughout Nigeria. However, the constitution did not prevent the regions from establishing their own local police force. The command of the Nigeria police force was under the inspector General of Police (IGP) while 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 the Nigeria police. Do not be surprised to read the Nigeria police in place of the Nigeria police force.
The Nigeria police is grouped into departments A-F. ‘A’ department takes care of administration, personnel promotion, and dismissal, transfer and posting, medical budgeting, pay and accounts, public relations and printing etc. ‘B’ department of ‘F’ have their own respective duties, our major concern is ‘A’ department where public relations belongs or categorized.
1.2 Statement Of Problem
The study and practice of public relations today in the country is at best problematic and our academic institutions have recently acquired the part of being conflict hot-beds. Experts and lay readers have interpreted, conceived and perceived these conflicts in various ways. Public relations practice has often been the misconstrued or at best understood in the defect.
If the citizens do not trust the police, will not talk to them. They will avoid police contact. Therefore, if distrust causes avoidance and failure to communicate, the implications for the police organisation 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. The result is inefficient and unsafe for the community.
If the police organization views the community it has sworn to protect as a dangerous place full of people who are criminate and who are hostile to them, it is to be expected that the police will react in a negative way they will not feel free to communicate with the community. The police will be carefully guided when they have contact with the citizens they are expected to be protecting. As a result, the police themselves will contribute in widening the gap between the police and the community because their belief system will be reinforced by negative community contacts. Eventually the police will become afraid of and hostile to the very people they are supposed to be protecting and serving.
This study will look into the internal and external problems facing the Nigeria police and how police public relations officer has succeeded or failed in resolving the problem such as:
- General welfare of the police
- Crime prevention and brutality by the police
- How cordial police – press relationship is
- How police manage crowd and crisis in Enugu state.
1.3 Objective Of The Study
The police is criticized, abused and made caricature of by the police it is policing in terms of life and property. The public ridicule is exaggerated because they do not know the principles guiding the police and as well, hoodlums will not like their evil deeds exposed, thereby hunting the police.
This study is aimed at exposing and proffering solutions on problems policemen face in caring out their legitimate duties, which be order on remunerations, promotion, accommodation staff training, equipment, transportation, poor communication etc. This is one way or the other hinder the effective performance of police duties.
Also, the problems that bother on police and public relations in respect of armed-robbery kidnapping, rape, homicides or murder, stealing, etc are addressed. Other factors that affect or hinder detailed investigation at the police stations and state CID are not over-looked.
Moreover, research into this course will enable the public to be conscious of their environment, report crime to the police as they will be educated, sensitized, entertained and at the end, the society will be reformed. The media play a standard role in doing this. The mode of managing crisis in the police is also featured.
1.4 Scope Of The Study
The area this study cover are problems facing the Nigeria police like poor welfare, communication, accommodation, and how they relate with the general public – the press, innocent citizens deviants and criminals in Enugu State.
Though, we know that the Nigerian police has a federal character and its study should not be myopic but there was no time for me to include other states in my study because that will be very vast and the general study can complicate my report within the limited time given for this research.
Public relations job in the Nigeria police in Enugu State is entirely the duty of Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) located at the police station headquarters, Enugu at the state secretariat.
1.5 Research Questions
The purpose of this research is to answer the under listed research questions that bother both the police and civilians in the state.
- To what extent does the poor living condition and welfare of the police affect their performance?
- To what extent does police brutality and extortion damage its image to the public?
- How cordial is the relationship between the police and the press?
- To what extent do the Nigeria police effectively handle crowd and crisis management?
Based on the research conducted, the following assumptions were formed thus:
H01: There is no significant difference (P < 0.5) between the responses of senior and junior staff of the Nigerian police concerning the poor welfare of the staff.
H02: There is no significant difference (P < 0.5) between the junior and senior staff of the Nigerian police as to the damage of their image over brutality and corruption.
H03: No significant difference exist between the senior staff and junior staff (P < 0.5) of the Nigeria police over cordial relationship between the press and the police.
H04: There is no significant difference (P < 0.5) between the senior staff and junior staff of the Nigerian police concerning effective crowd/crisis management in Enugu State.
1.7 The Significance Of The Study
A review of the police public relations in Enugu would to a large extent leave the organisation within the safety zone, since public relations create an understanding through effective communication between the organisation, its officers and the public. The study will help the management to resolve crisis through maintaining effective public relations. Officers in the Nigeria police will benefit in this study because when the police public relations officer adhere to the recommendations in this research, their conditions of living and service will improve thereby reducing bribery, corruption and extortion of twenty naira (N20.00) on the road.
Other beneficiaries are the public and the press. The masses will understand how hard the police are working and cooperate with them in combating crime instead of corrupting them with money and other incentives. The journalists will use their media in sensitizing, educating and mobilizing the public towards police efforts to police them effectively.
The government will through this research findings understand the plights facing the Nigeria police and enhance their living and working conditions.
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 researchers to do so and do it better.
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