Pragmatic Acts In Crime-Motivated Police Interactions In Ilorin, Nigeria

Aina Adejoke Adenike


Crime-Motivated Police Interaction (CMPI) is a fact-finding process which involves Investigating Police Officers (IPOs), complainants, suspects, and witnesses. Existing studies on CMPI have concentrated on discourse acts such as speech acts, pragmatic acts and (im)politeness strategies in Police-Suspect Interaction (PSI), with little attention paid to how IPOs, suspects and other stakeholders in PSI deploy pragmatic acts to negotiate the discourse of CMPI. The deployment of pragmatic acts as fact-finding strategies in CMPI was investigated to unravel the sources of cases to describe the various practs applied in Crime-Motivated Police Interactions in Ilorin, Nigeria.
Jacob Mey’s Dialogic and Pragmatic Acts Theory was adopted as the framework. An ethnographic design was adopted for the study. Fifteen cases including a threat to life, conspiracy, and assault were randomly observed between 2012 and 2015 at Kwara State Police Headquarters, Ilorin. These were complemented with written confessional statements of selected complainants, suspects and witnesses. Data were subjected to pragmatic analysis.
The practs encoded in CMPI were threatening, attacking conspiring and commanding. Investigating police officers obtain cautionary statements from suspects involved in criminal cases such as kidnapping. Investigators gave suspects the opportunity to answer the allegations against them and gave their own accounts before a decision on prosecution was made. Voluntary statements were obtained from complainants and witnesses on related cases such as homicide. Necessary information about the offences was gathered from the participants to ascertain the truth. The interviews of witnesses were directed at eliciting facts in line with provisions of the Evidence Act.
CMPI depicts the deployment of pragmatic tools which guide the modus operandi of the participants in reporting different crimes. Linguistic strategies in each phase of interaction broaden our understanding of the situational usage of police registers and enhance our knowledge of the contextualised words in complainants’, suspects’ and witnesses’ discourse.


Crime-motivated interaction, Police investigation procedure, Complainants and crime suspects, Ilorin, Nigeria.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.