NAIROBI, November 19 – Eight hundred and thirty three police officers have been dismissed from the force for the past three years for various offences ranging from corruption, drunkenness and other disciplinary vices.
This year alone, 273 police officers were sacked, many of them during the post election violence for using language that appeared to comprise security at their work places.
Last year, 266 police officers were sacked, while 163 were dismissed in 2006. One hundred and thirty one officers were dismissed in 2005.
A confidential report detailing the number of dismissed officers shows that many of them were sacked due to serious disciplinary offences, corruption and deserting their workstations without permission.
Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe termed the dismissals as ‘normal’ saying; “The force does not entertain errant police officers”.
“This is a disciplined force and that is why matters of discipline are treated with the seriousness they deserve,” he said.
A case in point is the dismissal of a police officer who publicly declared his support for a particular party at the peak of the post election violence and even threatened his colleagues that the candidate of their tribe was on his way out of power.
The report states: “The officer who hails from Uasin Gishu district was guilty of an act to the prejudice of good and discipline contrary to police regulations.”
Another officer (name withheld) who hails from Machakos district was sacked on May 5, 2008 when he was found guilty ‘of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline contrary to police regulations.’
The report states that the officer removed a female prisoner from cells at night with the intent of having sex with her.
Yet another officer Lameck Mokaya was dismissed on November 28, 2007 when he mounted a guard of honour for a member of parliament at a police station.
“On the November 5, 2007 in Nakuru district, he mounted a guard of honour to a politician,” the report states.
The officer was dismissed after a local daily published a photograph showing the officer mounting the guard of honour to the politician, contrary to regulations of the police.
In another case, Ex-PC Alexander Rop who was serving at the Dog Unit headquarters in Nairobi was sacked on 21, September 2006 when he was found sleeping in a dog kennel while drunk.
“He had no firearm and when a search was conducted, it was found within the Kennel compound,” states the report that was exclusively obtained from police headquarters and later tabled in Parliament by Assistant Minister for Internal Security Orwa Ojode.
For former police constable David Kirui, November 11, 2006 is a day he will never forget. It is the day he was dismissed for lending a firearm to an unauthorised person.
According to regulations guiding the police, it is an offence for a police officer to lend a firearm to any other person other than his fellow police officer and even that act must be authorised.
The report shows that the highest number officers were dismissed for ‘serious disciplinary offences’.
The Force Standing Orders (FSO) that contain police guidelines and procedures define a serious disciplinary offence as “failure by a police officer to obey orders of his or her superiors in the line of duty”.
This includes declining to be deployed to work or taking up any other duties as directed by the superiors.
Another offence seen to have contributed to high number of officers’ dismissal during the period under review is corruption.
The culprits were either caught by media cameras taking bribes or accused by members of the public for having solicited bribes.
They were charged in court, interdicted and later sacked.
Another major reason that contributed to the dismissal of many officers from the force during the period is deserting duty.
This is where a police officer chooses to remain out of his or her workstation without authority contrary to section 3(9) of the police regulations.
The FSO defines a deserter as an Inspector or subordinate officer who absents himself from duty without leave, or who overstays any period of leave for more than 21 days unless the contrary is proved.
Any case of desertion is supposed to be communicated to police headquarters immediately and a case file opened. A warrant of arrest is also supposed to be obtained immediately and a case file opened and forwarded to the CID headquarters.
The officer’s name is then published in the Kenya Police Gazette (KPG).
On expiry of 30 days of absence, and a deserter has not been arrested, a further report together with his records of service will be submitted to Force headquarters and will contain the details of actions to trace him.
“The deserter will then be struck off strength, but the relevant entry in the KPG will not be cancelled,” part of the FSO states.
On expiry of three months from the date when the officer first absented, the warrant will be transferred to the register of wanted persons and further inquiries will be conducted in accordance with the instructions for keeping the register of wanted persons.
The FSO requires that if an Inspector or subordinate officer returns to his station after being treated as a deserter and has not had the intention of deserting, disciplinary action for being absent without leave should be instituted.
Such cases are dealt with through Orderly room proceedings in line with CAP 20 of the FSO.
The proceedings are presided over by any officer above the rank of an Inspector.
A vivid case is that of EX-PC Patrick Wambani of Busia district who deserted his place of work for 2 years without substantial explanation having failed to obtain authority from his superiors.
The report states that he was dismissed for ‘deserting the force for 711 days.’
Poor service record
Some police officers are dismissed for having ‘poor records of service’ or being convicted in court for various criminal offences.
In the last three years, some 200 officers were dismissed after facing murder, defilement and rape charges; others lost or just misplaced firearms allocated to them or were found to be drunk.
Others were found to have shot at their colleagues or threatened to shoot their seniors after disagreements on where to be deployed while others simply failed to dress properly or used vulgar language at their workstations.
Such officers are often found ‘guilty of an act to the prejudice of good order and discipline’.