This article explores the ways in which African approaches to policing challenge western preferences for transparent and equitable forms of partnership-based policing. It uses the experience of the Nigeria Police Force in metropolitan Kano to question the value of police-public partnerships as the best way to tackle crime and communal conflict in cities where multiple religious and secular norms and processes affect the meaning and delivery of security and justice. Based on recent fieldwork, the article argues that while the need to negotiate with Kano's semi-state and informal policing providers has not reconfigured the Nigerian police's authority practices, the city's relative stability owes much to the political and technical skills with which senior officers manage Kano's competitive environment. Policing in Kano emphasizes the need for clarity of purpose, actionable intelligence and robust operations, rather than partnership. © The Author(s) 2012.
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