Public perceptions of trust in the police in Abuja, Nigeria

Usman, David Jacob (2019) Public perceptions of trust in the police in Abuja, Nigeria. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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What the public thinks, believes and feels about the police determines if people will obey or disobey them, if they will support the police in fighting crime, and contributes to how and whether the police will succeed in maintaining order. Notwithstanding these incontrovertible facts, scholars and researchers in Nigeria have paid only minor attention to this crucial subject by viewing the problem from the fact that the police have failed in performing its obligations. So far, no research has deeply explored the relationship between police and the public in Nigeria and ordinary people’s perceptions of police corruption and trust and the historical background that forms the context of this. This research addresses this gap in knowledge through original empirical research into public perceptions of the police, experiences of contact with the police and views about the relationship of police behaviour and legitimacy.

Using procedural justice as the main theoretical model, this thesis provides a platform for the qualitative narratives of 66 men and women in Abuja, Nigeria who have had direct and indirect experiences of the police. It analyses how their interactions with the police shape their day-to-day lives and ideas about justice, law and order.

This research found that participants employed an idea of police effectiveness to assess their legitimacy that in turn was connected to procedural fairness as well as honesty. Participants believed that they would be more likely to trust the police if they were provided with the needed services such as securing lives and properties, maintaining law and order as well as investigation and detection of crime. These outcome- oriented views of good policing were combined with process-oriented views in which the importance for trust of being treated with dignity and even sincerity regularly featured in the interviews and focus groups. Hence, this research shows how procedural and distributive form of justice were interlinked for participants.

The issue of police corruption, discussed at length in the thesis, has an implication in the achievement of effective policing and provides a useful illustration of how concerns about police results combined with views about police good conduct were inseparable in making determinations of trust in and legitimacy of the police.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Procedural justice, trust, police legitimacy, police effectiveness, police corruption and democratic policing.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Armstrong, Prof. Sarah and Smith, Prof. Andrew
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Mr Jacob David / Usman
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-76724
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2019 13:49
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2022 12:22
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.76724

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