A Functional Analysis of the Nigeria Police Force: A Proposed Model for Reform



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Purpose The purpose of this research was to determine the impact of the national police force on the social order in Nigeria. Specifically, this analysis explored the extent to which the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) inhibits adaptation of policing to a modem police role. The impact of traditional policing and the resilience of the legacy of colonial police on the social order, crime and conflicts in modem Nigeria are analyzed. Methodology The methodology used in this study was a secondary analysis of data gathered from research in the United States and records from Nigerian sources. The Nigerian data included prison admissions annual reports from which the crime trends in Nigeria and the Nigerian index of crime were compiled. Rising crime rates could indict the police are doing a good job—responding to deviant behavior in an official manner. Crime rates are used to measure police performance. Functionalism and conflict theory were the primary theoretical frameworks that guided the analysis. Findings

  1. The police role in modem society has changed from a traditional, reactive, narrow, law enforcement focus, to a broader, proactive, social service, social support, social integration, and community-based focus.
  2. The NPF has failed to adapt to the modem police role concepts that have guided police reform in many countries.
  3. The NPF's failure to adapt to modem policing is due to the resilient legacy of colonial police.
  4. The colonial police legacy promotes para-militarism, a large police bureaucracy, police loyalty to the federal government and the powerful elite, police brutality, discriminatory law enforcement practices, police unaccountability to the public, and an insidious police subculture that promotes alienation of the police from the public. 5.The NPF is generally viewed by the public as an alien force used by the elites for consolidation of power and subjugation of the people. 6.The consequences of the NPF's failure to adapt to the changes that have taken place in Nigeria include rising crime rates, social stratification, conflicts, social unrest, and instability in the country. 7.Past police reform efforts have not improved the police image and performance. They have focused on raising educational qualifications of recruits, raising salaries, training, purchasing modem equipment and more vehicles, hiring more police, and posting cadets back to their states of origin. The socio-political environment as a context for policing and the implications for a national police force have not been considered.



social order, Nigeria, Nigeria Police Force, colonial police