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Last updated: 15 July, 2008 - Published 15:33 GMT
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Forum: Do you trust your police?

Nigerian police officers
Can African governments really stand between their citizens and danger?

Does you country have sufficient officers to provide effective policing?

Do you have confidence in the integrity of the force in your country or are you wary of corruption within it?

What do you think can be done to improve the security and protection of Africa's citizens by their police force?

Join the Focus Forum

To take part in the debate simply fill in the form on the right. A selection of your comments will appear below.

Ernest Aigbavbiere, Sweden:

Police are the same everywhere. In the UK, USA and most parts of Europe and Africa they act the same. They are power drunk and intoxicated as soon as they hold the firearms and uniform. Sometimes they kill suspects before inventing stories for the media. In the case of Africa, corruption is high because of the nature of their work environment, corruption in the government, poor work motivation and poor facilities among others

 African police always need bribes instead of saving lives of those who need help
Gabriel Ayach Akech Ayach

Gabriel Ayach Akech Ayach, Calgary, Canada:

I can't trust the police because they don't deal with the situation which they are supposed to do. African police always need bribes instead of saving lives of those who need help
Ntumngia Ngwawah, Bamenda, Cameroon:

They say police are friends of the public but they are the enemy of society. I hate the police like I hate a snake

Musa Gunda, Jos, Nigeria:

Not really because most of our police are corrupted

Bambo Samuel Nkambe, Southern Cameroon:

The police in Cameroon are the epitomy of corruption. They are the forces of disorder, they shoot striking students with live-bullets, you cannot trust them. You buy their trust - 500CFA for an ounce of police trust. With our police you are never right for they always find a fault in you, it is easier paying your way out than justifying your action

 Our police force can still not be trusted
Jesse Konang

Jesse Konang, Buea, Cameroon:

Our police force can still be trusted. Armed robbers are not fought by civilians but by the police and gendarmes. Concerning the bribes they collect, the civilians that give the bribes are usually people prepared to bend the law. The taxis that ply our roads hardly ever have all their papers, so the drivers resort to tipping the officers at police/gendarmerie road blocks to escape prosecution. A citizen who is in order, i.e. who pays his taxes regularly, who does not fight, who does not dupe people, in fact who is upright, cannot be harassed by the police

Nde Velentine Chi, Wum, Cameroon:

The police in Cameroon, just like their colleagues, the gendarmes, have a reputation of collecting money (usually 500FCFA) from drivers without bothering about what they are transporting. To improve on their integrity, more adequate training is required and provision of the appropriate equipment. It is common to give a distress call to the police and receive a reply that they don't have a vehicle at their disposal to come to your rescue. This is worse in rural areas where the police use commercial motorcycles to transport crime suspects and hardened criminals

Alhaji Fofana, Reading, USA:

Don't trust the police, even your own son

 No one in the country should trust these men in black
Yeboah Joseph Danso

Yeboah Joseph Danso, Kintampo, Ghana:

The police service in Ghana is unpredictable.They have the constitutional mandate to provide security for the ordinary citizens of the country. However, they extort, intimidate, rob and kill the same people they are mandated to protect. They killed more than 120 football fans a few years ago. Apart from that we hear of sporadic manslaughter of cell inmates who are awaiting justice to defend them. They protect the rich and the affluent and show gross apathy towards the poor and the marginalized.This behaviour is unprofessional and unacceptable. No one in the country should trust these men in black

Mac-edwin ifeanyi Obi, Aba, Nigeria:

I do not trust my police, mainly because of the many cases of "accidental discharge." But I don't totally blame them for this. The government should improve their very very poor welfare programmes such as wages, housing etc. The problems of bad conduct among police officers in Nigeria are as a result of little or no motivation

Sena Nani, Agogo asante akim, Ghana:

How can the police be trusted when cocaine kept in their custody goes missing among the touchbearers of the police service? We can in no way trust them when they form gangs with armed-robbers to attack the very people they are supposed to protect.God help us,but help the police service more

 The police force needs to be policed by another independent body
Kagunda Buku

Kagunda Buku, Kikuyu, Kenya:

The police in this town are corrupt. They even arrest passengers for not fitting seat belts, when the vehicle has no seat belts. They lock you up until you give in to bribery. The police force needs to be policed by another independent body

Martn Animashaun, Bida, Nigeria:

It's fine

Denis Mbulih, Bamenda, Cameroon:

Thanks for such a sensitive topic, but it is rather unfortunate that one day we might suceed to only unite our political entities and not our hearts as one people. Why? Look at Sudan and now South Africa. What inspiration are we giving to the future generations? It is a great pity

Mohamed Hassan Ali, Mbale, Uganda:

It is not easy to say something about this topic but I'll try my level best. The police force in African countries is so harsh, to the extent that they can punish you without reasonable allegations. I am a Somalian by nationality and am studying in Uganda. The Ugandan police are somehow better than those of Kenya. I hate the police of Kenya because of the way they treat us. I am appealing to the Kenyan police to stop what they are doing to us

James Ayiek Bath, Khartoum, Sudan:

I personally hate the kind of police force in my country

 I believe that men of integrity and high moral standards still exist in our police force
Melusi Manzini

Melusi Manzini, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe:

Obviously my country, like any poor country, does not have enough manpower for any profession. I do have confidence in the force force. I believe that men of integrity and high moral standards still exist in our police force, though certain unruly elements may be there as is the case in any part of life. To increase the effectiveness of the force in Africa the conditions under which they do their duties must be improved i.e. transport to and from work, accomodation,protection from physical,social,political and mental harm. Incentives and performance-based rewards can also be extended to the force

Abdul Jalil Ismail Alfa, Sokopto, Nigeria:

Really, we don't trust our police

Sumanu Alghali, Freetown, Sierra Leone:

Indeed I trust my police but not when they take bribes, when they become trigger happy and when they simply cannot understand the laws that govern the country

Sylvester Okoduwa, Benin City, Nigeria:

I have confidence and utmost trust in our police but the truth is that the society which the police are supposed to protect are the same corrupting the police force

Bryant Toh, Massachusetts, USA:

Well, I really don't trust the police in Africa because there are no standards to recruit qualified police officers. Individuals without high school education are within the police force which is detrimental to the masses of the country they tend to protect. Africa as an older continent lacks international standards as a whole. Bribery is a major factor among African leaders and their subordinates. Africa needs God's prayers

 The ratio of policemen to citizens is far below the required amount
Suleiman Mbatiah

Suleiman Mbatiah, Nairobi, Kenya:

The ratio of policemen to citizens is far below the required amount. A single police officer mans thousands of citizens. This creates an imbalance. There is no confidence in the integrity of the police force here in Kenya. They have been accused of soliciting bribes to offer services guaranteed by the bill of rights. To improve security in Africa citizens must first admit that the police force is part and parcel of society and is there to root out immoral things. In addition, citizens must cooperate in community policing programmes. This interaction will flush out the crooks in the community as they are well known to us. With this, the police will work effectively, thus winning back credibility and believability

Alfred Johnson Jah, Tobyhanna, PA, USA:

When it comes to trusting the police force of my homeland (Liberia), I personallly don't. My lack of trust in them is based on a series of apparent facts which include, but is not limited, to low salaries, a broken system and corruption from the top guys

Yorro Bah, Banjul, The Gambia:

I always feel like running away when I see a policeman simply because of their behaviour. The military police are so brutal that I am even afraid to have a word with them

Mohamed Hassan, Eagan, USA:

Kenyan police believe that police are the boss of people and have no respect for the citizens. They don't know who pays their salary - the tax payer!

 Our police are high-handed and have been suspected of involvement in crime
George Otieno

George Otieno, Nairobi, Kenya:

In Kenya people are more afraid of the police force than thugs. The police force is corrupt and not independent from the executive. The minister for internal security gives direct orders to the police. Our police are high-handed and have been suspected of involvement in crime. During the last general elections the police were involved in shooting civilians with live ammunition and killed quite a number. The ratio between them and civilians does not really matter given the circumstances. The police department must be independent and accountable to parliament. Our police commissioner is a military trained soldier, how then can he handle police business? No wonder community policing failed

Kabiru Ciroma, Potiskum, Nigeria:

We trust our police

Paul Yembe, Buea, Cameroon:

I personally have extreme confidence in our Cameroonian police and armed forces. Long live the Cameroonian forces! You are the best

 I strongly believe that if they had good salaries they would do a good job
Firmino Abilio

Firmino Abilio, Maputo, Mozambique:

I don't have confidence in our police here in Mozambique because they seem not to be really interested in protecting the public. However, I think this is because they have starvation salaries. I strongly believe that if they had good salaries they would do a good job. Imagine having to work hard for nothing? The police spend nights outside their homes knowing that they will earn peanuts by the end of the month, therefore they seize any chance to get more money

Mrs Laurie Bumbeh Kokulo, Cultington University, Gbanga, Liberia:

How can I trust a police force that fought fourteen years of civil war and refuse to go through the demobilization and re-integration process into the Liberian society? I cannot trust the so-called police who I believe don't even think about protecting innocent citizens but are corrupt and join criminals in intimidating peaceful citizens. There is no time I will trust the Liberian police because they are not up to international standards and not qualified to conduct international peace- keeping like others countries around the world

Ernest Appiah, Kumasi, Ghana:

How on earth can I trust them when they condone and connive with robbers to rob us

 The police in Liberia need re-training in their respective disciplines
Korpo Robert

Korpo Robert, Monrovia, Liberia:

I am afraid that the Liberian police will be given arms in the future, as they are not police who can be trusted. They are very corrupt in that they would sell the arms to criminals to harm innocent citizens. The police in Liberia need re-training in their respective disciplines

Bize Moses, Douala, Cameroon:

Police in most African countries pass most of their time taking bribes and drinking, so I don't trust them

Charlie, Lilongwe, Malawi:

Police are usually brainwashed by politicians. Look at them in Zimbabwe. Horrible, beating their own brothers and sisters! Shame!

 I don't have confidence in them because they are interested in enriching themselves through dubious acts
Edward Bockarie

Edward Bockarie, Manowa, Sierra Leone:

My country has enough officers but they lack effective policing simply because they take bribes. I don't have confidence in them because they are interested in enriching themselves through dubious acts. To improve the security and protection of Sierra Leoneans, government should stop recruiting criminals

James Okolie-Osemene, Aba, Nigeria:

The police are supposed to be trusted but it is unfortunate that they have betrayed the trust of Nigerian society. For now, I don't trust them because of the high rate of corruption and insincerity. They have to change if they need our trust

Lamin Janneh, New York, USA:

The police in Africa are not there to protect the citizens but oppress them. This is because there is no freedom of anything in Africa, including the right to be a citizen

 They carry out these shameful acts in the full glare of the public

Godwin, Accra, Ghana:

Here in Ghana it's no secret at all as to the level of corruption of policemen, especially those in the traffic division who extort money from the public transport drivers. There is a saying in Ghana which says that "the drivers are the husbands of the policemen and so they have to collect house-keeping money from them daily". They carry out these shameful acts in the full glare of the public, yet when one complains, the fellow is asked to provide evidence, when in actual fact the evidence is there for all to see

Ayouba Kafoma, Kamara, Monrovia, Liberia:

I have deduced that the police in Liberia are unable to protect us

Awan Deng Awan, Kampala, Uganda:

Please BBC, tell the African leaders to stop misstreating the people of tomorrow and our future leaders

Dimla Lambert Njem, Jakiri, Cameroon:

Of course not, I don't trust the police force, especially Africans. This is because many of them never read the law and that is why they treat harmless citizens with such impunity. Shame on you, my fellow African policeforce

 Citizens are vulnerable to the damage of notorious gangs around Monrovia
Mohammed Konneh

Mohammed Konneh, Monrovia, Liberia:

I am afraid to let the world know that the police in Liberia are unable to provide the necessary mechanism for effective policing because their minds are corrupt and they are primarily criminal facilitators. As a result, citizens are vulnerable to the damage of notorious gangs around Monrovia

Samson Mancha, Jos, Nigeria:

The Nigerian police force has the capacity to provide effective policing for Nigerian citizens except for the killer syndrome that has rendered it ineffective-corruption

Boaz Asutsa Mugoto, Nairobi, Kenya:

Here in Kenya, if you go to any police department for help, you are doomed, unless you "cough" up something. This trend should actually be reversed. We've had reforms in the police force, but nothing has changed

Samson Zogbaye, Logan Town, Liberia:

After long years of civil war in my country, the United Nations have built a strong, trained, intelligent police force which I trust. But for now they are like a toothless bulldog because they have not been supplied with arms to combat armed robbers, so they are weak. You can't fight a devil with your bare hands, but I know the government will see reason one day and give them what is better for the bad guys. I trust the police, they are hard working

 The standard of the police has to be improved to make the job highly attractive
Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu Dahiru, Kano, Nigeria:

I feel uncomfortable with my police officer and feel that he could not protect my life and property. To improve this, the standard of the police has to be improved to make the job highly attractive; then they can deliver the task properly and the government can discipline any one among them who violates the rules

Oryem Obina, Uganda:

When you look at the ratio of the police to the mass population, it is overwhelming. This has resulted in recruitment of the special police constable. This recruitment was urgent; hence the constables never went through effective and sufficient training that enables them to know the law of Uganda. I would think that half of the police are not people who wanted to be in this profession. There is a need to professionalize the police, like Uganda is trying to do with the army. It is sad that a number of cases of abuses and human rights violations involve the police, let alone corruption. I am yet to trust the police

Nana Yeboah, University of Ghana, Ghana:

The police in my country and in most African countries are in fact more of a burden on the citizens than protectors. Corruption, victimization and gross intimidation of innocent people is all they know. I don't know the panacea to this problem as our leaders are in themselves corrupt and only seek their selfish interests to the detriment of the ordinary citizen

William Williams, Lagos, Nigeria:

The Nigerian government is not serious about tackling insecurity.The politicians breed and arm thugs who later turn the weapons on innocent members of the public. Only a bloody revolution can save Nigeria

 How can I trust police who drink and eat with the criminals?
Willaim Kokulo

Willaim Kokulo, Monrovia, Liberia:

Police in my country, Liberia, are not police you can depend on. At no time do patriotic citizens of Liberia trust Liberian police. How can I trust police who drink and eat with the criminals and know where the criminals sleep? I serve as my own security and don't rely on corrupt police who join criminals to sell stolen materials

Adam Sangare, Monrovia, Liberia:

No, I dont trust our police. They are so corrupt and they don't respect their own citizens

Nandi P. Bette, Buanchor-Boki, Nigeria:

The police force in Africa is still far from being a protector of the people. Rather, like in the colonial days gone by, the force still sees itself as an instrument of oppression, a willing tool in the hands of those who wield state power

Blama Moore, Millsburg, Liberia:

No, I did not trust the police, because they have failed to protect us so many times

* optional
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