Crimeis not a new phenomenon. It has always existed from time immemorial.
Crime canbe said to be socially constructed because, the society defines crime. Every neighborhoodor community we find ourselves in, we discover that they have their own way oflife which invariably determines the laws that they follow and which alsodetermines what they know as good or bad. An act cannot be known as a criminal act if thesociety does not collectively agree that it is.
For example, rape is a violent actand it is also a universal act which society as a whole sees as a crime or evenstill, a mental illness. Some societies take things more seriously than othersocieties, for example, in the Unites States of America, speeding is seen as adeviant act, but places like Nigeria, the is no legal body available to controlspeeding, that is why we see that, as The Vanguard Newspaper states, as at2017, 1070 Nigerians died because of road accident. Society plays an importantrole in defining crime as this is needed making laws of the society which willprevent crime (as defined by the society) from taking place.
Society’s outlookon the particular act is important in defining crime because, for example, ifsociety doesn’t consider giving bribe, stealing, murder etc, they would not beseen as crime and no law would be made on that, although, it is morallyincorrect. Therefore, crime is relative to the society.Themakeup of crime is based upon the interaction of four key elements, which isalso known as the chemistry of crime. These elements or components are-The victims-The offenders-A possible target and -Theabsence of a guardian. Forcrime to be said to occur, these elements have to interact together.Accordingto criminologist, crime has two major elements which are:- The criminal act- The criminal intent, also known asrationalityThese elements are important becausethey determine what we know as crime.
If any of these elements are absent, thencrime would cease to exist. Like every other society or country in theworld, Nigeria as a county is no exception when it comes to crime and delinquency.Every day we are faced with one criminal act or the other, be it fraud, murder,bombing, armed robbery and the likes. Nigeria has been on the global crime mapsince 1980.
Incidents such as a case in which some individual were stalked andeventually trapped in uncompleted buildings, basements or even car trunks depict the viciousness of violent criminals.These acts are usually well planned, orchestrated, syndicated and organized.InNigeria, to control and stop these types of crime, three bodies are responsiblefor the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria. These bodies are: thecourt, the police and the prison. The Nigerian civil police force is made upof; custom, immigration and prison enforcement. According to section 194 of the1979 constitution, the Nigerian Police Force is appointed with jurisdictionthroughout the country.Otherbranches of the police force protect the harbor, waterways, railways andairfields. The Nigerian police force performs typical police functions and isresponsible for internal security.
The views thatcitizens have about the police are important. These views can influence thedegree and type of interaction people have with the police and the degree ofsupport provided to the police (Cao & Dai, 2006). Without public support,modern policing is difficult, if not impossible (Islam & Ali, 2008).Positive views of the police by citizens can lead to a positive relationshipwith the police, which can improve the effectiveness of the police (Brown &Benedict, 2002).
Negative views canlead to resentment, which can impede the ability of the police to be effectiveformal agents of law and order (Goldsmith, 2005). Policing views are,therefore, important to explore and understand (Nalla & Madan, 2011). Whilethere is a growing body of research on policing views, the vast majority ofstudies have focused on Western nations, especially the United States (Brown,Benedict, & Wilkinson, 2006; Cao & Dai, 2006). There are numerousnations across the globe in which there is a scarcity of research on people’sviews of the police. The primary functions of the police are detection andprevention of crime as well as preservation of law and order. The police haveconstitutional powers of ensuring the prevalence of law and order and thepreservation of public peace. According to Bittner (190:38-44), a policeofficer is any person who is principally concerned with law enforcement andcrime control, and only incidentally concerned with an infinite variety ofother socio-political matters.The1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria confer on the police forcepowers and duties for effective oversight and accountability similarly, thePolice Act charge the force with the general duties of:i.The protection of life and propertyii.Detection and prevention of crime;iii.Apprehension of offenders;iv.Preservation of law and orderv.The due enforcement of law regulations with which they are directly charged.