chapter  5
17 Pages

Community policing in Accra

The complexities of local notions of (in)security and (in)justice
WithEmmanuel Addo Sowatey, Raymond A. Atuguba

This chapter examines the strategies that a low-income and densely populated migrant community such as Nima adopts to provide for their own security and justice needs. It argues that the establishment of a Watch Dog group in the poor urban neighbourhood of Nima in Accra was a self-initiated rather than police-driven response to appropriately address local security needs. Some of its earliest settlers were families of soldiers from the Royal West African Frontier Force in Accra who were asked by the British Colonial authorities to leave the military camp due to security concerns during the Second World War. One striking characteristic of Watch Dog members is their contextual knowledge of criminal psychology in the Nima context, which they use to prevent and detect crime. The chapter concludes by making a short comparison with high-income areas of Accra, arguing that closer relations to politicians and greater wealth allow them to use a wider range of security options.