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 Securing Africa:
The Role of Non-State Actors in Crime Prevention and Management: A Multi-Track Approach
Jun 12, 2013


The Role of Non-State Actors in Crime Prevention and Management: A Multi-Track Approach

  •  “Whether you live in a high crime or low crime area, how can you make life safer for you and your loved ones? ....Indeed, police authorities advocate the taking of preventive measures- avoiding crime in the first place”.

                                    ----- AWAKE! May, 2013, p.6.


  • The 1648 Westphalia treaty through it doctrine on sovereignty rested in the hands of the states the responsibility of providing security. Its inspiration, drawn from the earlier teachings on social contract theories saw the state as the sole financier and provider of security in exchange of the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
  • In the field of peace studies, it has come to be acknowledged that peace, security and development must go hand in hand. Yet over the years, the awareness has increased that government alone cannot provide these basic necessities. These necessities therefore call for the involvement of other non-state actors to contribute their quota.
  • This demand gave birth to what is presently and famously known as the Multi-Track Diplomacy (MTD), which has NINE levels.

The Multi-Track Diplomacy

MTD has traditionally just one track, which the government as the singular provider of peace, security, but which has now been extended to nine tracks.

Track One

  • It is only the government that is responsible for crime control. Usually government enforces this task through the police under whose jurisdiction is to maintain law and order and fight crime. However, in a population of close to 200 million people, what will a poorly equipped, under-funded, ill-motivated, and uninsured size of just about 400,000 policemen do?

Track Two

  • Non-governmental/professional bodies: This is the realm of professional nongovernmental action attempting to analyze, prevent, resolve, and manage crime.

Track Three

  • Business and Commerce: Local business people who are even too busy to attend community meetings can be made to realize that they can use their resources to prevent and fight crimes in their neighbourhood. They should be made to realize that their businesses cannot be guaranteed if there is no commitment on their part to invest in crime management.

Track Four

  • Private Citizen or Personal Involvement: This includes the various ways that individual citizens become involved in peace and development activities through citizen diplomacy, exchange programs, private voluntary organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and special-interest groups.

Track Five

  • Research, Training and Education: Members of the academia and academic institutions are also expected to invest their knowledge in peace, security and development issues.

Track Six

  • Activism, or Peacemaking through Advocacy: This track covers the field of peace and environmental activism on such issues as disarmament, human rights, social and economic justice, and advocacy of special-interest groups regarding specific governmental policies. Transposing this idea to the management of crime, activists are needed in every society to challenge unfavourable policies.

Track Seven

  • Religion, or Peacemaking through Faith in action: This examines the beliefs and peace-oriented actions of spiritual and religious communities and such morality-based movements. From time immemorial, religion has continued to play a functional role in bringing sanity and order to the society through the propounding and propagation of the moral values and virtues. It is undeniable a fact that religion is the moral foundation of ethical behaviour in the society.

Track Eight

  • Funding or Peace through Providing Resources: This refers to the funding community-those foundations and individual philanthropists that provide the financial support for many of the activities undertaken by the other tracks.

Track Nine

  • Communications and the Media, or Peacemaking through Information: This is the realm of the voice of the people; how public opinion gets shaped and expressed by the media-print, film, video, radio, electronic systems, and the arts.
  • These nine tracks can also be thought about in the light of conflict prevention and management, because each track is a critical stakeholder.

Community Policing (COP)

  • The overall philosophy of community policing is such that “nothing can outperform dedicated people working together to make their communities better and safer places in which to live and work and raise children”.

Why Community Policing in Nigeria?

  • Colonial experience and the need for people-oriented policing;
  • The ratio argument

According to Tamuno (1970),

“An examination of the origins, development and role of the British-inspired police force in Nigeria reveals that they were shaped by the nature of European interest in the country and the reaction of the indigenous people to their activities. One of such longstanding European interest in West Africa is commerce”.

Presently in Nigeria, it is estimated that the Nigeria Police has the strength capacity of 377, 800 police officers in Nigeria, out of which only 350,000 are active. It is also estimated that 85% of the active population, are general duty officers who take part in both domestic and international operation. This number is grossly inadequate for effective policing in a country with the estimated population of close to 200 million people. (see,CLEEN Foundation, 2008; Okafor, 2013).

Actors in Community Policing

  • Traditional Institutions: These institutions are still closest to the people as custodians of culture and traditions. Every indigenous system has its mechanism of crime control and management.  Another lesson documented by Tamuno (1970: 82):
  • “The Borgu oath consists of drinking a small quantity of water into which a small handful of earth from in front of the Chief of Bussa’s house has been mixed. No Borgu man would dare to lie after submitting to this test. Deaths have occurred to the knowledge of many from this ordeal, and in each case, the body has swollen to a huge size before the person actually expired….There is no question of poison being placed on the ground beforehand”.

Local Government Areas

  • In Nigeria, we cannot ignore the immense contributions towards policing by both the states and local government areas. Of particular interest is the local government because it can organize small coordinate security units where people virtually know themselves by name. This is already happening with the establishment of local vigilante groups that are complementing the efforts of the police in patrolling the highways against the activities of armed bandits.

Religious Institutions

  • As it has been observed, “The process of dehumanization and the path of violence could not be taken without the underlying process of moral exclusion” (Linda M. Woolf and Michael R. Hulsizer, 2003, pp. 1- 25). Most religious institutions in Nigeria play a dual role of providing both physical and spiritual security through worship, prayer, sacrifice  but also have the resources to help in fighting crime.

Community Leaders and Youth Associations

  • Community leaders are not necessarily the District Heads, the Baales, the Chiefs; they can be people of great repute who have the voice, ears and eyes of the community people. Young people are always very innovative and energetic and can channel such great gifts towards crime prevention and management. As a matter of fact they take it upon themselves to organize and provide security in areas where such is absent.
  • Your corn is ripe today; mine will be so tomorrow. ‘Tis profitable for us both, that I should labour with you today, and that you should aid me tomorrow. I have no kindness for you and know you have a little for me. I will not, therefore, take any pains upon your account; and should I labour with you upon my own account, in expectation of a return, I know I should be disappointed, and that I should in vain depend upon your gratitude. Here then I leave you to labour alone; you treat me in the same manner. The seasons change; and both of us lose our harvests for want of mutual confidence and security.     ------ David Hume


  • Crime is inevitable in every society the world over and it is the responsibility of the police to prevent and fight crime. Yet it is increasingly becoming obvious that the police cannot prevent and manage crime alone, especially in countries like Nigeria where they lack funding, adequate training, logistics, motivation and life insurance. Further still, the demographic expansion of Nigeria is another major challenge that necessitates the idea of the police engaging other stakeholders. It is better to work with others to fight crime than work alone.

Thank You!



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