Iteere wants police officers to embrace reforms

April 16, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 16 – Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere on Friday urged police officers to embrace the ongoing police reforms that the government was implementing.

Mr Iteere emphasised that the force had no room for inept officers who have for long soiled the image of the law-enforcing agency.

The police boss was categorical that if police officers did not improve their relations with the public, they had no business holding their jobs.

"To the police officers, when we go out we really need to see change, there is no need to utilise a lot of resource in terms of personnel development and then things remain the same, it is business as usual, " he said.

He said police officers were duty- bound to deliver quality service to the public especially as the force will be restructured to be in line with the County system.

The Police Commissioner added: "If it is at station level, if you are the Provincial Police Officer, I think we should see standard operating procedures everywhere within the provinces. If you are an Officer Commanding Police Division the same thing should apply across all the stations. If each one of us took that job personally I do believe sincerely that we can have a very good service."

Mr Iteere has appointed a team led by Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of reforms to start implementing police reforms.

Most of the changes to be made are contained in the interim report by the National Task Force on Police Reforms. These changes are intended to make the force more effective than it has been.

Speaking at the Kenyatta University during the closing of a weeklong police service workshop where 43 police officers were exposed to skill that would enable them become role models and to engage in mentoring of other police officers, Mr Iteere called for a change in attitude among Kenyans even as he struggles to redeem the dented image of his force.

Citing the Bill of Rights as enshrined in the new Constitution, the police chief said the need to evaluate the capacity of individual police officers is in line with the reform process and what is required of them under the new law.

He said: "Institutions like the university, for whatever reasons your students are unhappy with a certain aspect of the institution, what have the pedestrians or the motorists done, why should you go out there and stone people burn tyres on the road."

“As we are talking of people’s right, especially those under Chapter Four of the Constitution, it is imperative that each one of us knows that the rights of an individual are never absolute. Your right ends where your hand reaches, beyond that you are in another persons territory,” stated Mr Iteere.

The Police have often been accused of violating the law with impunity, through arbitrary arrests and detentions of suspects. Under the new Constitution, the Chapter on the Bill of Rights demands that even the rights of suspects should be respected and such persons will be duly notified of the reason why they are arrested.

Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Olive Mugendi said that the University Senate is currently reviewing a proposed Diploma and Masters level course in Police Service and Security Matters.

"This particular training was cantered on mentoring and setting of exams for the police officers, and we wanted to make sure they set them properly, issues to do with organizational management, transformational leadership; in future we are looking at starting senior level courses for our security forces," he said.

The move appears to be part of the government’s effort to implement the Justice [rtd] Philip Ransley report on police reforms, which recommends that all officers of the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police and Administration Police and above be subjected to review using a criteria to be developed jointly by the Public Service Commission, Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) and the National Security Intelligence Services.

The officers are to be vetted to ensure they meet the required professional standards with a remarkable track record as well as an impressive academic background.

The Justice Ransley report recommended that senior police officers must be holders of university degrees.

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