Alagi Yorro Jallow

Part of the problem is history. African police forces were set up by the colonial powers to maintain control over the local population. Independence didn’t really change that function.

Their role largely remains regime protection and representation rather than serving the public. In African culture the police are there to intimidate, to coerce,’ and extortion especially the struggling middle-class and poor.

The best way to identify threats to public safety is a policing model that promotes trust and collaboration with the community, say the policy manuals on preventing violent extremism, better known as PVE. A positive relationship is believed to help build resilience to radicalization. But the reality in much of the world is that the police are viewed as corrupt, violent, and people best avoided.

In African culture the police are there to intimidate, to coerce acknowledged everywhere in Africa. Its time is to change that perception. Sharp and articulate, of a new policing initiative in which aims to build a partnership with the community to help blunt radicalization of the youth.

Traditional policing – far too often based on brutality and arbitrary arrest rather than proper detective work – can create more fear of the security services than the insurgents and is clearly counter-productive. Why is the culture of human rights abuse and resistance to reform so deeply ingrained?

The temptation, then, is to turn to forced confessions. In Africa, torture has become such an integral part of policing that many stations have an informal torture officer, according to a 2016 Amnesty International report.

The prevalence of shoot-to-kill policies are also a reflection of the failure of the criminal justice system, with sections of the community seeing themselves as targets of persecution.

Governance failure is key in the tolerance of abuse. A corrupt political system breeds corrupt cops. If states are unwilling to provide opportunities, services, and rights to entire sections of its citizens, “there is then little reason to expect national police actors to do so”, argues a report by the Global Centre on Cooperative Security.

The subservience of the police to the ruling elite doesn’t win them any political favors. Conditions of service are generally appalling and pay poor. Families of officers killed in action can struggle to receive their benefits – with kickbacks expected.

Predatory police take out their frustrations on the public – typically the most vulnerable and powerless members of society. According to an Afro barometer survey across 34 countries, the police are universally regarded as the most corrupt of institutions – well ahead of even government officials.

“In most cases the police in Africa are demoralized because the remuneration they are getting is just peanuts. “They have a family to feed so can be prone to being compromised.”

In the Afro barometer survey, more than half of respondents who had been victims of a crime did not report it to the police. Regionally, levels of distrust were highest in East and West Africa – just 43 percent said they would seek the assistance of police first if they became victims. That’s because the police don’t have a monopoly on criminal justice. People often have multiple choices, with varying degrees of legitimacy and links to the state – from family and friends out to exact revenge, to local militia, customary courts, and formal commercial security guards.

Part of the problem is history. African police forces were set up by the colonial powers to maintain control over the local population. Independence didn’t really change that function. Their role largely remains regime protection and representation rather than serving the public. In African culture the police are there to intimidate, to coerce,’ and extortion especially the struggling middle-class and poor.

The best way to identify threats to public safety is a policing model that promotes trust and collaboration with the community, say the policy manuals on preventing violent extremism, better known as PVE. A positive relationship is believed to help build resilience to radicalization. But the reality in much of the world is that the police are viewed as corrupt, violent, and people best avoided.

In African culture the police are there to intimidate, to coerce acknowledged everywhere in Africa. Its time is to change that perception. Sharp and articulate, of a new policing initiative in which aims to build a partnership with the community to help blunt radicalization of the youth.

Traditional policing – far too often based on brutality and arbitrary arrest rather than proper detective work – can create more fear of the security services than the insurgents and is clearly counter-productive. Why is the culture of human rights abuse and resistance to reform so deeply ingrained?

The temptation, then, is to turn to forced confessions. In Africa, torture has become such an integral part of policing that many stations have an informal torture officer, according to a 2016 Amnesty International report.

The prevalence of shoot-to-kill policies are also a reflection of the failure of the criminal justice system, with sections of the community seeing themselves as targets of persecution.

Governance failure is key in the tolerance of abuse. A corrupt political system breeds corrupt cops. If states are unwilling to provide opportunities, services, and rights to entire sections of its citizens, “there is then little reason to expect national police actors to do so”, argues a report by the Global Centre on Cooperative Security.

The subservience of the police to the ruling elite doesn’t win them any political favors. Conditions of service are generally appalling and pay poor. Families of officers killed in action can struggle to receive their benefits – with kickbacks expected.

Predatory police take out their frustrations on the public – typically the most vulnerable and powerless members of society. According to an Afro barometer survey across 34 countries, the police are universally regarded as the most corrupt of institutions – well ahead of even government officials.
“In most cases the police in Africa are demoralized because the remuneration they are getting is just peanuts. “They have a family to feed so can be prone to being compromised.”

In the Afro barometer survey, more than half of respondents who had been victims of a crime did not report it to the police.

Regionally, levels of distrust were highest in East and West Africa – just 43 percent said they would seek the assistance of police first if they became victims. That’s because the police don’t have a monopoly on criminal justice. People often have multiple choices, with varying degrees of legitimacy and links to the state – from family and friends out to exact revenge, to local militia, customary courts, and formal commercial security guards.