How do you pro­tect ac­cusers against rogue po­lice of­fi­cers?

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - 25 -

The In­ter­nal Af­fairs Unit (IAU) of the Na­tional Po­lice Ser­vice, though it has al­ways been there, has re­cently rein­vented it­self and it looks like it is per­form­ing the du­ties IPOA is man­dated to carry out — over­sight the po­lice. Are you con­cerned that the unit would ren­der your Au­thor­ity ir­rel­e­vant?

John Ojwando, Ahero

That is not the case. Though com­ple­men­tary in some in­stances, the two in­sti­tu­tions have uniquely dif­fer­ent man­dates. Though both re­ceive com­plaints from members of the pub­lic and Na­tional Po­lice Ser­vice, Sec­tion 87, 4(e), 5 and 10 of the Na­tional Po­lice Ser­vice Act as­sign IPOA over­sight au­thor­ity over the work of the IAU.

Fur­ther, IPOA has spe­cific func­tions in­clud­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion of deaths and se­ri­ous in­juries caused by po­lice ac­tion, con­duct­ing of in­spec­tions of po­lice premises, mon­i­tor­ing of po­lice op­er­a­tions af­fect­ing members of the pub­lic, re­view­ing of the func­tion­ing of the in­ter­nal dis­ci­plinary process and re­port­ing to the pub­lic on the po­lice re­forms progress.

Sec­tion 7 (c) of the IPOA Act and Sec­tion 87 (5) also gives

IPOA the pow­ers to “to take over on­go­ing in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions into mis­con­duct or fail­ure to com­ply with any law if such in­ves­ti­ga­tions are in­or­di­nately de­layed or man­i­festly un­rea­son­able.”

An­other fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence is that IPOA is civil­ian-led while the IAU is manned by po­lice of­fi­cers.

Strate­gi­cally, both in­sti­tu­tions hold quar­terly meetings to up­raise the re­ferred cases and in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Both in­sti­tu­tions also un­der­take joint aware­ness cre­ation fo­rums to make Kenyans aware of their unique man­dates.

Given that most of the com­plaints you re­ceive are against po­lice of­fi­cers, what do you do to pro­tect those who bring com­plaints con­sid­er­ing that the of­fi­cers wield guns and can harm the com­plainants if they dis­cover that their jobs are on the line?

Githuku Mun­gai, Nairobi

In­ter­nally, IPOA has mech­a­nisms that sup­port anony­mous lodg­ing of com­plaints and also en­sures that records from these com­plaints are con­fi­den­tial. IPOA com­mis­sioned an Elec­tronic Com­plaints Man­age­ment sys­tem that is pass­word pro­tected and only al­lows au­tho­rised of­fi­cers to log in and ac­cess in­for­ma­tion.

Ex­ter­nally, IPOA has a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing with the Wit­ness Pro­tec­tion Agency that al­lows the Au­thor­ity to re­fer wit­nesses and com­plainants whose lives are threat­ened for pro­tec­tion.

How do you plan to forge a mean­ing­ful work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the In­te­rior min­istry and the Na­tional Po­lice Ser­vice to ensure that your cru­cial man­date is never com­pro­mised? Komen Moris, El­doret This past week, West Pokot Gover­nor Prof John Lonyan­ga­puo was cap­tured on cam­era re­mov­ing po­lice road bar­ri­cades some­where within his county, ac­cus­ing the po­lice of ex­tor­tion. Do you have a man­date to in­ves­ti­gate such cases and rec­om­mend fur­ther ac­tion against such civil­ians who harass and in­tim­i­date our brothers and sis­ters in the po­lice ser­vice?

Komen Moris, El­doret

The IPOA man­date ex­cludes the au­thor­ity from in­ves­ti­gat­ing or rec­om­mend­ing ac­tion against civil­ians com­mit­ting felonies. That is the work of the po­lice. How­ever, IPOA mon­i­tors po­lice op­er­a­tions that af­fect members of the pub­lic, makes find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions for re­me­dial ac­tion where gaps are noted.

What mea­sures have you put in place to tame the rise of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings tar­get­ing young men es­pe­cially in Kib­era, Mukuru, Dan­dora, Kay­ole and Mathare slums?

Joshua Mwa­bali, Em­bakasi South, Nairobi

To­wards this, IPOA es­tab­lished a Rapid Re­sponse Depart­ment within the In­ves­ti­ga­tions Direc­torate to de­ploy of­fi­cers to scenes of in­ci­dents within the short­est time pos­si­ble, par­tic­u­larly in high den­sity res­i­den­tial ar­eas to con­duct pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions and es­tab­lish cul­pa­bil­ity when the scenes are still fresh. IPOA also en­joys a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with com­mu­nity-based or­gan­i­sa­tions, es­pe­cially those in these high den­sity res­i­den­tial ar­eas to en­able it gather in­for­ma­tion and re­spond when­ever killings oc­cur.

IPOA also runs out­reach pro­grammes and has vis­ited Kib­era, Mukuru, Dan­dora, Kay­ole and Mathare to ed­u­cate the members of the pub­lic, as well as po­lice, on its man­date and ben­e­fits of peace­ful co­ex­is­tence. Fur­ther­more, ev­ery killing is in­ves­ti­gated on its own merit as dic­tated by the law.

Since IPOA was formed more than six years ago, only a small per­cent­age of com­plaints have been suc­cess­fully pros­e­cuted. Why is this so? Dan Mu­rugu, Nakuru

Of the 10,000 com­plaints lodged with IPOA, al­most half of them ei­ther fell out of our man­date or did not meet the thresh­old to war­rant fur­ther ac­tion. Be­sides, 2,021 cases re­ceived have been de­ter­mined and com­pleted. An­other 2,879 have been re­ferred to rel­e­vant agencies, 6,065 are un­der in­ter­nal at­ten­tion, and 53 are be­fore court with six con­vic­tions as of June 30, 2018.

Not all cases that are han­dled by IPOA end with pros­e­cu­tion. Some are re­solved through al­ter­na­tive dis­pute res­o­lu­tion at sta­tion level through IPOA’S in­ter­ven­tion.

In its en­deav­our to pro­fes­sion­alise the Na­tional Po­lice Ser­vice (NPS) and be more im­pact­ful, IPOA gives pri­or­ity to deaths and cases of se­ri­ous in­juries. Cases of a mi­nor na­ture such as po­lice mis­con­duct are for­warded to the In­ter­nal Af­fairs Unit for dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

In terms of im­pact and over­all value for money for the tax payer, our trend anal­y­sis re­ports in­di­cate that the level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism among members of the NPS has grad­u­ally im­proved since IPOA’S in­cep­tion.

Within the broad man­date of be­ing a civil­ian over­sight au­thor­ity charged with bring­ing re­forms in the po­lice ser­vice, does IPOA also look at the wel­fare of our po­lice of­fi­cers on is­sues touch­ing on hous­ing and work­ing en­vi­ron­ment?

Dan Mu­rugu, Nakuru

Tech­ni­cally, mat­ters of po­lice wel­fare are han­dled by the Na­tional Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion. How­ever, the law has em­pow­ered IPOA to con­duct in­spec­tions of po­lice premises, de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing res­i­den­tial ar­eas for po­lice of­fi­cers with the aim of see­ing that NPS achieve pro­fes­sional stan­dards by en­sur­ing that they work and live within sound and hab­it­able hous­ing.

In our 2016 re­port, IPOA es­tab­lished that po­lice hous­ing was a cri­sis, char­ac­terised by short­age and de­plorable con­di­tions. IPOA rec­om­mended that the gov­ern­ment should aban­don pro­vi­sion of houses to of­fi­cers and in­stead, al­lo­cate of­fi­cers of all cadres a house al­lowance. As a re­sult of these rec­om­men­da­tions, all po­lice of­fi­cers will from this month get com­men­su­rate house al­lowances.

What do you plan to do to ad­vance what­ever the in­au­gu­ral board members achieved?

Charles Wang’ombe, Dagoretti

Un­like the in­au­gu­ral board, we found a work­ing in­sti­tu­tion, with struc­tures, of­fices and a pro­fes­sional sec­re­tar­iat. Since es­tab­lish­ment, the IPOA has also de­volved to the re­gions and has of­fices in Mom­basa, Nakuru, Kisumu, El­doret, Meru, Garissa, Kakamega and a satel­lite of­fice in Lod­war.

There­fore, the board can only think of re­sults, im­prove stake­holder part­ner­ships, build­ing on the foun­da­tions es­tab­lished by the in­au­gu­ral board to steer polic­ing in Kenya to higher stan­dards. We are also work­ing on a new Strate­gic Plan which should re­sult in new strate­gies and pru­dent re­mo­bil­i­sa­tion of re­sources for the max­i­mum re­turn on our re­source in­vest­ment in the po­lice over­sight jour­ney.

What else can be done to stem the tide of po­lice ex­cesses and re­store trust and con­fi­dence in our po­lice?

Paul Ges­imba, Nairobi

Train­ing of po­lice of­fi­cers is a key in­gre­di­ent in at­tain­ing pro­fes­sional stan­dards that in­clude re­spect for hu­man rights. IPOA par­tic­i­pated in de­sign­ing a cur­ricu­lum that aims to in­cul­cate ad­her­ence to hu­man rights. Reg­u­lar re­train­ing is also im­por­tant to ensure there is at­ti­tu­di­nal change among our of­fi­cers.

How has poor fund­ing im­pacted on your op­er­a­tions?

David Mwangi, Nairobi In­ves­ti­ga­tions and over­sight work is gen­er­ally ex­pen­sive. More fi­nan­cial bud­get al­lo­ca­tion would nat­u­rally re­alise more in­ves­ti­ga­tions com­pleted to the sat­is­fac­tion of com­plainants. How­ever, fi­nan­cial re­sources aside, hu­man re­sources are also crit­i­cal if we are to turn around a faster in­ves­ti­ga­tion com­ple­tion rate.

Are there av­enues to reg­is­ter a com­plaint anony­mously?

Cyn­thia Nkatha, Maua

IPOA has put in place a secure elec­tronic sys­tem in which com­plainant data and case in­for­ma­tion is stored that only au­tho­rised staff can re­trieve us­ing secure pass­words. Fur­ther, in­se­cure com­plainants can also lodge com­plaints anony­mously with­out dis­clos­ing their names to ensure that they are safe. In some cir­cum­stances, IPOA also al­lows friends and rel­a­tives to lodge com­plaints on be­half of ag­grieved per­sons.

Are there in­stances the po­lice have stalled your in­ves­ti­ga­tions and how would go around such a for­mi­da­ble ob­sta­cle if it oc­curred? Stephen Oyioka, Nyamira

One of the chal­lenges listed by the in­au­gu­ral board in its End of Term re­port is lack of co-op­er­a­tion by the high-level ranks of the po­lice. How­ever, the IPOA Act gives the au­thor­ity pow­ers to sum­mon any per­son and to com­pel the at­ten­dance of any per­son who fails to re­spond to its sum­mons.

Re­cently, I met the In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice Joseph Boin­net. We dis­cussed a num­ber of is­sues in­clud­ing co-op­er­a­tion with­out com­pro­mis­ing our in­de­pen­dent man­dates, to ensure that members of the Na­tional Po­lice Ser­vice are ac­count­able to the peo­ple of Kenya.

What are you do­ing to fight cor­rup­tion in the po­lice ser­vice? Joash Omolo, Si­aya Op­er­a­tionally, com­plaints against po­lice of­fi­cers on bribery and cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions fall un­der the man­date of the Ethics and An­ti­cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion. On re­ceipt of such com­plaints, the au­thor­ity refers them to EACC who, to­gether with IPOA, be­long to the re­fer­ral part­ners work­ing group.

That aside, to ad­dress the uni­ver­sal prob­lem of ar­bi­trary ar­rests to so­licit for money for free­dom, IPOA is un­der­tak­ing a the­matic in­ves­ti­ga­tion with a view of find­ing and mak­ing pos­si­ble rec­om­men­da­tions to in­form sys­temic in­sti­tu­tional change within the NPS.

MS Anne Makori chair­per­son IPOA at ACK Gar­den Head­of­fice Nairobi on De­cem­ber 06,2018.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.