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 Securing Africa:
THE USE OF INTERNET SERVICES LIKE WEBSITES IN TACKLING SECURITY CHALLENGES BY POLICE: A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF POLICE FORCES IN AFRICAN COUNTRIES
Jun 22, 2013
By: Emeka Nze








Nigeria: -

The history of human government on earth is incomplete without making mention of those state agencies which performs the duties of ensuring that the subjects as the ruled were known in antiquity and citizens in the contemporary state comply with the state law and order.

    In pursuit of this, various states and their machineries (government) both in the past and present, established diverse internal law enforcement agencies in their states.

    But the internal law enforcement agency in which is peculiar in every part of the world in this age is the police.

    In developed nations of the world like Germany, Canada, France, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States of America and so many others, the importance of modern information Communication Technology like the use of computer system, internet services like Twitter, ceoafrica, Facebook, E-mail and websites in tracking and tackling security challenges have been largely appreciated.

    Have police forces in Africa really acknowledge, apply and appreciate the importance of the use of websites and other in internet services like Facebook, Twitter  ceoafrica and E-mail in tackling security challenges in their various territorial jurisdictions?

    In response to the question above, let us take a tour to each of the African countries Police Force and have a critical evaluation of their acknowledgement and application of internet services like website and its components like Facebook, Twitter and E-mail in overcoming security challenges and the same time allowing the members of the public, to have access to their nation’s detailed security information   and  access to  public contact addresses that are accessible in the time of security chelenges.

    Countries like South Africans, Seychelles, Lesotho and Swaziland, are the countries in African continent whose police forces have well developed websites, contact addresses, toll free emergency numbers, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Facebook and Twitter accounts, with detailed lists of wanted persona, wanted but has been apprehended persons, missing persons, missing property and crime statistics in every aspect of social crime. Locations of police stations and offices, links through which people who face one security tips can contact the police for immediate action were full provided in their police websites.

    All the information were fully detailed and were always updated.

    The foregoing, shows that the South African police with web address: www.saps.gov.zal, has realised the importance of having a highly effective website and at the same time, appropriate the benefits of such medium in dealing with security challenges. The same were to the Seychelles police with web address: www.police.gov.sc/, e-mail: office@police.gov.sc and phone number: +248 42288000, Swaziland police with web address: www.police.gov.sz. Dedi337. Nur4. Hosth.net, e-mail: rsppro@realnet.co.sz, phone numbers: +268 77800323 or +2268 76062312 and the Lesotho police with web address: www.gov.ls/lmps, e-mail: assistance@lmps.co.ls and phone numbers: +266 22323969 or +266 22321340.

Each of the police forces of the countries mentioned above, have toll free call for emergencies. A specific number is used for a specific or particular type of crime like gender violence related crime, armed robbery, missing person, wanted person, attack on police officer, traffic accident and others.

    With the detailed information provided above, it is simple and rational to conclude that the police in South Africa, Seychelles, Lesotho and Swaziland have to a reasonable extend, acknowledged and appreciated the value of the use of internet services in tackling and tracking security challenges and at the same time allow the public to have an easy access to security data that are made for public consumption and also access to police services even right at the comfort of their homes without necessarily labouring to police station.

    On the similar but less manner, police force in countries like Angola (www.angolain.org/police/), Cameroon (www.cameroon-mo.com), Cape Verde (www.policianacional.cv/), Nigeria (www.npf.gov.ng), Botswana (www.police.gov.bwl), Ghana (www.ghanapolice.info/), Mauritius (www.police.gov.mu/), Uganda (www.upf.gov.ug/), Sierra Leone (www.police.gov.sl/), Rwanda (www.police.gov.rw/), Sudan (www.sudanpolice.gov.sd/), Burkina Faso (www.police.bf/) and Kenya (www.kenyapolice.gov.ke), have a well developed websites, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and Facebook and Twitter accounts but none of them, has a detailed or any data of the lists of wanted persons, wanted but has been arrested persons, missing persons or property on their various web pages. While police in countries like Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Rwanda updates the information on their web pages on daily and weekly bases, the police in countries like Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritius, and Cameroon updates theirs at will.

    The police forces in those countries have adequate social media like Facebook, Twitter and E-mail accounts, phone numbers and addresses through which their services can easily be accessed by the public.

    From the finding above, it is clear that the police in those countries, value, acknowledged and appreciated the importance of the use of such internet media in tracking and tackling security challenges and better communication between the police and the people. But why they have decided to hide or fail to upload their security data like the list of wanted persons, missing persons and item for public access and view calls for questioning.

    If those countries police forces have seen and acknowledge the importance of such internet media in tackling security challenges; why have they decided to eat the cake half-baked? They should be up and doing by emulating South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Seychelles police forces in the use of internet services especially the websites.

    On the other hand, the police force in countries like Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, Malawi, Nambia, Zambia and Tanzania, have websites many of them are not accessible while the police in those countries should not delay in creating websites, most of the web pages like that of Burundi, Malawi and Somalian police, have little or no information at all, while some have information dated as far back as 2010 without further update till date.

    That of Nambia and Zambia police were worse while that of Tanzania police is the worst because it was not accessible.

 It is clear that the police in the countries mentioned above, might have jumped into creating websites for their forces not because they have really come to comprehend its value and appreciate it rather to meet up with the fashion going on in other countries’ police forces. But why have they decided to embrace the fashion half way?

    On the direct opposite of police forces in countries like South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Seychelles in the use of web sites are police in Togo, Ivory Coast, Lybia, Guinea, Can Republic (CAR), Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sao Tome and Principe, Eritrea, Senegal, Benin Republic, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Congo DR, DR Congo, The Gambia, Sahrawi, Gabon, Comoros and Djibouti. The police in these countries have no web address.

    From the data above, police in countries from North Africa, most of Francophone countries and some others have not shown to have acknowledged the value and importance of internet services like website in tackling security challenges, despite that most of these countries are facing serious security challenges in their countries.

    Can one blame such on ignorant?

      It is clear that ignorant cannot be the reasons in countries like Egypt where civilisation started nor Tunisia and Morocco who have been in contact with outside world. If ignorant may be attributed to the cause of their neglect of internet services, it should be more on West African countries and other small and backward countries in Africa.

    From the data discussed above concerning the African countries’ police forces and use of websites in tackling security challenges, they show the majority of police forces in the countries in Africa have no web addresses or any reliable internet medium to communicate with the public and tackled security challenges.

    Thirty one out of fifty five countries of Africa which represents 56.36% have no web addresses or any reliable internet medium in tackling security challenges. While 12.72% of police which represents seven out of fifty five African countries have inactive web addresses, they are not functional. 23.63% which represents thirteen police forces in African countries which have very effective websites with many of them being updated with information on daily and weekly bases. 7.27% which represents four countries’ police force out of total fifty five countries in Africa have full functioning websites with detailed security data made for public consumption.

    Out of the four countries, only Seychelles is not from South Africa sub-region.

    What the foregoing, calls for from police in African countries, is true acknowledgement of the importance and the application of internet services like the use of websites, Facebook, E-mail, Twitter accounts and others in tackling security challenges by the police in their respective African countries.

    Those police forces in countries that are ahead of others, they believe is that, there is always room for improvement and those who have not taken advantage of the new way of handling security challenges in this contemporary age, if there is time to act, it is now.

 


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