Written by Ann Arinze

Peace Educator @ PEDI Project.

As in the preceding reports concerning the attitude of uniform men towards civilians, which recorded a high level of dehumanization by the force. Based on this same report, the United States have vehemently refused to assist in supplying us arms to fight the notorious insurgent group in Nigeria.

It would not be inappropriate for our government to set up peace education classes for men and women in the force. Just as we view with deep disdain the attachment of videos of their lawless freedom-preferring to scuffle without end rather than to place themselves under lawful restraints that they themselves constitute,consequently preferring a mad freedom to a rational one.Their actions are considered barbarous,rude and brutishly degrading of humanity. One wonders why the word civil right has not been completely buried in their heads.

Police training in this era focused primarily on the technical and mechanicalaspects of acquiring skills, such as marksmanship, driving skills, and defensive tacticswhile neglecting “softer” subjects like communication andproblem solving. Many academies, or police training centres, continue totrain this way today. Recruits spend 90 percent of their training time on firearms,driving, first aid, self-defence and other use-of-force tactics even though only 10 per centof their job duties will put them in positions where they need to use these skills.

We need to adapt a new form of policing; community policing (COPS).

The transition will be difficult given the conflicting values and practices between traditional policing and current policing. For example, whiletraditional policing emphasizes strict enforcement of the law, community policing emphasizesbuilding relationships between police and community/neighbourhood residents in orderto work together to prevent crime and solve problems . The emphasis is on resolving recurring problems rather than intervening insingle incidents.

Other attempt to improve or reform the police relies upon new peace education trainings.

The purpose of community policing training is to provide officers with a level ofunderstanding, improved attitudes and skills that will allow them to effectively employ problem solving andcommunity engagement techniques in their daily work

Furthermore, peace education curricula aim to reflect what is realistically done on the job (i.e. order maintenance and service). Because the recruit academy is such an important part

of occupational socialization for police officers, it is necessary that peace education training classes be set up, to teach the philosophy of COPS during recruit training.

Without proper peace education classes, officers will be less likely to understand the philosophy of COPS and/or howto translate the philosophy into effective practice.

Few researchers have studied academy training and specifically looked at itscoverage of problem solving and community policing, but the ones that haveinvariably reported a lack of sufficient coverage (Bradford and Pynes, 1999; Marion, 1998). For example, Bradford and Pynes (1999) examined syllabi and curricula from 22police academies and concluded that less than 3 percent of basic training academy timeis spent on cognitive and decision-making areas, such as scenarios, communications,reasoning, and application. They found that more than 90 per cent of academy time wasspent on task-oriented training associated with the reactive nature of traditionalpolicing (e.g. defensive tactics, driving, mechanics of arrest).

Importantly, the shift in Nigerian policing toward community relations, problem solving, and

COPS will heighten the need for improved knowledge based and additional skilled force and yet, will not diminish the need for traditional skills. For example, COPS trainingaugments the curriculum by including topics on humandiversity, human right education, special populations (such as the elderly and mentally ill), assessing situations, public speaking, ethics and integrity, proactive or coactive problemsolving, crime prevention, stress management, domestic violence, and community building. The skills necessary for COPS will not become

second-nature if comprehensive training in the theories and methods ofCommunity-oriented policing are not provided. This means that recruits must understand the meanings and values associated with community-oriented policing (e.g.building trust within the neighbourhood) as well as the skills needed to conductCommunity-oriented policing.

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