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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE SOCIAL HAZARDS AND HEALTH STATUS OF POLICE OFFICERS IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

The work of the Nigerian Police Force since its inception, has involved amongst others, fighting crime by preventing it, as well as aggressively pursuing the violators of law and order. This has posed a great challenge within the Nigerian society. However, the general public has consistently been faced with problems such as the intolerance and lack of sensitivity of police officers towards them, making the popular phrase ―the police is your friend‖, almost totally questionable. These problems may possibly be linked to police work conditions and psychosocial risk factors, with attendant health risks, especially to their psychosocial well being. Psychosocial risk factors are factors that may affect workers psychological response to their work and work place conditions (including working relationships with supervisors and colleagues). Examples are: High work loads, tight deadlines, lack of work and working methods (MAC tool; Health and Safety Executive/Commission). Other psychosocial hazards include underpayment and inadequate compensation for work done, lack of monetary savings, long hours at work, appalling living environment, and poor job satisfaction, lack of promotion at work, work place violence, poor health service utilization, alcohol and substance abuse as well as poor renumeration. Work itself has a positive effect on human mental and physical health. However, work-related stress generated through certain adverse working conditions can have negative effects on an individual‘s health (Kortum 2007). Work-related stress is perhaps one of the most common social determinants of health for the employed. At times it can be as dangerous as unemployment, known as a great cause of distress and poor health – (WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, 2006). Healthy work presupposes appropriate levels of psychological job demands, job variety, autonomy and support from others (Kompier 2002). In 1981, the Swedish scientist Bertil Gardell defined five Central requirements for the psychosocial work environment thus: Work should be arranged in a way which allows the UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN LIBRARY 2 individual worker to influence his own working situation, working methods and pace; allows for an overview and understanding of the work process as a whole; gives the individual worker possibilities to use and develop all his human resources; allows for human contacts and co-operation in the course of work; and makes it possible for the individual worker to satisfy time claims from roles and obligations outside work e.g. family, social and political commitments (Kompier 2002). When work does not provide a proper configuration of work characteristics (e.g. psychological demands that are too low or too high, responsibility that is too little or too much), may provoke stress reactions. In a process of chronic exposure to such risk factors and insufficient recovery, the reactions (behavioral, psychological, and physiological) may, on the long run, lead to serious illness (Kompier 2002). The impact of psychosocial hazards and work-related stress on the health outcome of workers is multidimensional. Apart form their direct consequences on an individual‘s physiological, psychological and behavioral capabilities; the productive capacity of the worker is also affected. Only a healthy worker can contribute optimally and positively to an organization‘s objectives and successes (Ekore 2007). Police officers in Nigeria are constantly faced with the challenges of maintaining law and order, as well as psychosocial related work stressors. The magnitude of the problem stems from the fact that these hazards and work stressors are being ignored despite their negative contribution to police health, which would result in devastating effects if not identified and dealt with appropriately. The Public Health implications of these problems would definitely include a rise in psychiatric morbidity rates, poor health and mortality rates, both among the police officers as well as among the citizens they ought to protect. Law enforcement officers are subject to many factors that can act as work stressors such as:- (1)Aspects of their job linked to operational factors (job content) and (2) Aspects linked to organizational factors (job context) (Penalba et al 2008). Job content stressors include exposure to physical risk such as being a victim of violence, witness to the murder of a companion or having to kill when necessary (Burke 2000). Participating in an act of corruption as well as the afore mentioned have been found to be the most stressful job content UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN LIBRARY 3 events (Evans and Coman, 1993)

Statement of the Problem

The Nigeria Police have been faced with institutional and structural hindrances such as underpayment, frequent transfer/deployment, poor equipment and operational vehicles, poor accommodation, near absence of promotion and inadequate or erratic communication facilities (Adebayo 2005) The insensitivity of many police officers to Nigerian citizens may be blamed on these hindrances caused by the poor economy and unstable polity, but it may also be connected to their psychosocial well being. Issues such as arriving late at a crime scene or armed robbery incident, (or not responding at all) and the shooting of innocent civilians at checkpoints by some police officers may be related to psychosocial factors in their job.

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NAME:                       TITUS AYANI SOLA
BANK:                       FIRST BANK PLC
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ACCOUNT TYPE:       SAVINGS
AMOUNT:                  N2000

NAME:                       TITUS AYANI SOLA


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Updated: 10th October 2019 — 3:08 pm

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