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Social media might assist Lagos law enforcement officials combat crime: why it is not taking place

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Social media platforms are more and more getting used to combat crime and pursue investigations. They provide a method for police departments to share data with the general public. In addition they allow the police to have interaction and contain their communities in new and doubtlessly transformative methods.

The usage of social media in world crime-fighting is intensive. Frequent makes use of embrace the identification of criminals, proof sources and submission of misery studies. Police departments around the globe are nonetheless exploring expansive makes use of of social media to assist crime investigation and prevention.

Regardless of its apparent benefits, social media involvement in combating crime additionally poses pitfalls. Regulation enforcement officers may inadvertently disclose private data, delicate operational supplies and policing ways. Additionally, data launched by the police by means of social media could be misinterpreted by the general public.

Though Nigeria nonetheless has a younger web tradition, social media is an integral a part of combating crime. The nation’s web revolution kicked off within the late 1990s. Nevertheless it wasn’t till mid-2006 that Fb began gaining mass adoption amongst Nigerians. The 2019 Social Media Ballot Report on Nigeria signifies that of the 120 million Nigerians which have entry to the Web, 51% have been utilizing Whatsapp, 45% have been utilizing Fb, 2% have been utilizing Twitter, whereas 2% have been on Instagram.

Regardless of the development of digital media in Nigeria, there’s scant consciousness on how crime is fought by way of social media. We got down to deal with this problem by conducting a examine on the usage of social media for policing and crime prevention. We interviewed 122 law enforcement officials on the headquarters of the Lagos State Police Command.

The Nigeria Police Pressure is the legislation enforcement company primarily charged with the accountability of sustaining legislation and order, in addition to stopping and detecting crime. The Lagos State Police Command is the Lagos State department of the Nigeria Police Pressure. It’s constitutionally mandated to implement the legislation and combat crime within the state.

Regardless of successive drives to stop and management crime, crime charges stay excessive in Lagos. Probably the most violent crimes embrace armed theft, kidnapping, murder, and rape.

The Nigeria Police Pressure already has some designated social media accounts on Fb and Twitter. Even with restricted use of social media, it has had some outstanding successes. An important instance was the arrest of a serial killer in Port Harcourt.

However extra work could be finished to totally use the powers of social media.

In our analysis we discovered many of the police personnel confirmed a excessive understanding of the significance of social media as a helpful legislation enforcement useful resource. Officers recognized Fb, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube as the foremost platforms getting used for policing and crime investigation in Lagos. However most officers (77.2%) mentioned they hadn’t had any coaching on methods to use social media for policing.

We argue that the Nigeria Police Pressure must take some daring steps to make sure that social media platforms grow to be built-in into combating crime. Probably the most necessary first steps could be knowledgeable coaching on the usage of social media platforms for policing and legislation enforcement.

Insights

Contributors mentioned they used social media platforms for various police duties. For instance, 47% of the respondents recognized intelligence gathering as the principle function for utilizing them. Simply over 23% mentioned they have been utilizing them for legal detection, and 20% for crime investigation. Different makes use of included data dissemination to the general public and getting suggestions from the general public.

Officers additionally mentioned that members of the general public displayed a willingness to assist combat crime by way of social media.

A police officer making a telephone name on the scene of a fireplace outbreak in Lagos.
Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/Getty Photos

However they recognized a quantity challenges in utilizing social media to combat crime. These included:

  • The usage of social media for circulation of false data.

  • The dissemination of delicate data that would jeopardise police investigation on social media, and

  • The usage of social media to perpetrate crimes.

The largest barrier was an absence of formal coaching on the skilled use of digital instruments for policing and crime prevention.

How social media may help combat crime

Throughout the course of our analysis we have been in a position to establish quite a few methods during which social media might assist enhance crime-fighting efficiency.

For instance, social media platforms can support police companies in speaking with the general public by way of their official handles, managed by their new media departments. This has proved very efficient in Australia and the the USA of Americaw as sway of disseminating important crime prevention tricks to the general public.

Social media platforms may promote group policing, enhance public picture, and uphold sturdy moral conduct within the police drive.

Subsequent steps

The emergence of social media has influenced each aspect of society, together with legislation enforcement. However to utilize the probabilities it provides the Nigeria Police Pressure must act decisively.

Firstly, the drive wants a framework for coaching officers on efficient methods of utilizing digital instruments of their duties.

Lagos Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, speaks to passengers to implement social distancing in a bus as a part of measures to curb the unfold of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Lagos, Nigeria.
Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Photos

Secondly, the police authority should formulate a coverage on the use of social media in legislation enforcement and crime investigation. This may implement professionalism, examine misuse and be certain that digital instruments are utilized in accordance with world greatest practices.

Thirdly, there must be a evaluate of policing strategies in Nigeria. The Police Act, which guides the Nigeria Police Pressure, must be up to date to totally entrench social media greatest practices.

Lastly, to totally avail themselves of digital support, the Nigeria Police Pressure must create and implement measures for police-citizen engagement by way of social media. This can assist enhance the connection between the police and members of the group.

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