Hiring graduate criminologists can boost war against crime

 Lawyers are the closest relatives of criminologists with explicit convergence in both training and service delivery. [iStockphoto]

The advancement in criminology education is a huge wave of specialisation we cannot ignore. It is one of the fast-blossoming disciplines in Kenyan universities and colleges, but the absorption of graduates into criminology jobs is not as quick as modern security challenges demand.  

Despite the somewhat reluctant pace at which employing agencies are effecting the said adjustments, it is reported from various joints, where these graduates are already working, that the transformation in service delivery, passion for innovation, interpretation, and comprehension of security dynamics is a real revolution that stakeholders in both public and private sectors must uphold.

It is, therefore, incompatible that the same stakeholders continue embracing the rigid and conservative service structures while these "new brooms" pile up every year after successive graduations, at a time professionalism in security management, law enforcement and justice administration is the way to go.

Advancement in this regard means that the traditional skill-training of law enforcement and security management criminologists (basically for physical combating and prevention of crime) has never been sufficient, and hence the need for fortification through educational advancement.

A criminologist is a professional who has undergone rigorous education and skill training to understand crime and identify its patterns in order to prevent or reduce harm and incarceration rates. Criminologists can also contribute to research by generating data and statistics from existing criminal offenses for advisory, intervention, and reduction of risks.

Criminology is solidly founded on psychology and sociology. Lawyers are the closest relatives of criminologists with explicit convergence in both training and service delivery.

Higher learning in this field inspires curiosity, catalyses meaningful security reforms, greater and precise comprehension, innovation, and interpretation of vital criminology dynamics, resulting into efficient service delivery and substantial accomplishment scores. Involvement of key stakeholders before a course is authorised for university studies, is a guarantee that the said knowledge level would meet the corresponding service demands.

Unique is the fact that criminology teaching is grounded on the pragmatism philosophy of education revolving around practical and experiential learning, with lessons tailored beyond classroom lectures, to include resource criminalists required to handle criminalistics, which is the heartbeat of various facets of criminology specialisation.

This includes experts in serology, ballistics, toxicology, fingerprints, computer forensics, forensic pathology, tool marks, DNA, and so on. While ensuring non-graduate criminologists are not blocked along the rank conduits, corresponding policy adjustments must be appropriately reformed and job slots diversified towards a solid, reliable, and suitable pathway for expeditious and consistent promotion of those who acquire degree levels and above.

This is not to suggest in any way that the first-line responder criminologists must be graduates. In fact, if efficacy is good at higher levels, service at the lower levels will be congruently proportionate. As a way of enhancing Progressive Mentorship, the Professional Criminologists' Association of Kenya (PCAK) houses these graduates and the continuing students.

PCAK has amalgamated different criminology subfields into one big forum of synergy, where they share professional and skill ideas, including daily evaluation and reviewing of crime news, plus the holding of joint webinar programs. Leading private universities in Kenya have also long joined the many public universities offering diploma and degree-level criminology education, with some establishing special departments, such as a state-of-the-art Institute of Security Studies, Justice and Ethics.

The elevated standard of this discipline demonstrates remarkable enthusiasm and readiness to face the corresponding challenges surrounding security, crime management, and prevention, not only in Kenya but the world over.

Criminology is a specialised and practice-oriented dominion. Therefore, in the interest of non-police students, institutions consider partnerships with units/departments/ organisations, such as the DCI, courts, police stations, immigration, customs, hospitals for forensic pathology, and so on, in order to boost effective study attachment, thus avoiding cases of students struggling by themselves, where more often, they find it difficult to secure such attachments due to a chain of logistics and clearance procedures for security reasons.

Some also pass through abusive and unkind barriers beyond their control. Training institutions also need to put up well-equipped demonstration units/laboratories.  

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