1.1 Background to the Study
Neighbourhood watch is one of the traditional and best known crime prevention concepts in North America. It was popularly known as the neighbourhood watch organization in Pasadena Hills, under the direction of St. Louis Country Police Officer, Kyle Jundt, resident Geno Salvati and resident Ed Tyler. The International Code of Enforcement Ethics reveals the primary reason for establishing formal police system in any society thus: as a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind and property; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception; the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence and disorder; and to respect constitutional rights of all the men to liberty, equity and justice (Qadri, 2005). Admittedly, the main role of the police is to enforce law and order, safeguard lives and property, and render other essential services in the society. Put in a different way, fighting crimes and criminals is so difficult that the police and other law enforcement agencies alone cannot perform this task and achieve maximum positive results. Since the most visible part of criminal activities take place at the neighbourhood level, policing agencies need public support and co-operation. Intensive partnership and collaborative efforts of both the formal and informal agents of social control remain preconditions for a possible near ‘crime-free’ society (a complete crime free society is utopia); in other words, the idea will lead to a great success in crime prevention and control in the community.
Community policing is in hand with systematic relationship between the police and the entire people in the community. Police roles and functions are not simply law enforcement but also include tackling a huge range of community problems. The movement from traditional policing to community policing is a universal phenomenon and the Nigeria police cannot be an exception to this. Indeed, community policing as a philosophy and practice is a veritable vehicle for police reforms (Okiro, 2007). The Nigeria police in 2004, adopted community policing as a practical approach to police reforms. The stage was indeed set for a clear departure from traditional policing, that was reactive and incident based, to a problem solving oriented policing that is proactive with the community as the important part of policing objectives (Abdulrahaman, 2007).