NAIROBI, November 13 – The Nairobi Central Business District Association (NCBDA) on Thursday demanded an overhaul of police officers operating within the City centre, accusing them of colluding with criminals.
NCBDA Chairman Timothy Muriuki said many of the officers deployed to the Central Business District (CBD) had served for longer than the stipulated three-year period that an officer should serve at a police station.
Mr Muriuki said the association was convinced that many of the officers are to blame for the increased wave of crime in town.
“We have reason to believe they are colluding with criminals because these robberies are alarming. They do not respond to distress calls in time and we no longer see the kind of service that is deserved,” he told journalists at a press conference.
Even after raising the matter with the police on several occasions, Mr Muriuki said, no action had been taken and no improvement was visible.
He added that many of the robberies that had been committed in broad daylight had been taking place despite the heavy presence of police officers on patrol on key streets and avenues in town.
“This leaves us wondering why the robbers are carrying out their activities with impunity. We strongly believe there is collusion and that is why we are demanding an overhaul of the system in the city centre,” he said.
Contacted for comment, deputy police spokesman Charles Owino told Capital News declined to confirm or deny the allegations. “We can not certainly deny or confirm these reports, if the NCBDA have evidence on this matter, they should not hesitate to share it with us for further action,” he said.
Mr Owino said all allegations would be investigated and appropriate action taken to minimise the increased cases of robberies in town.
“Ours is police service and we are devoted to provide security to lives and property of everybody, we are open to any suggestions which can enable us improve our services,” he told Capital News on telephone.
Some shops in the CBD had experienced robberies twice in a period of one week.
On Kaunda Street, Biba Stationeries shop was robbed on Wednesday afternoon, barely a week after another robbery.
In both incidents, the robbers reportedly appeared calm and composed as they ransacked drawers and frisked customers’ pockets for money.
“And they even boasted that they will be back. They did not appear to be in a hurry. This alone is an indication that they are not scared of the police,” a shop attendant told Capital News.
NCBDA also took issue with the high number of public seats put up by the Nairobi City Council on major streets and avenues in the capital.
Mr Muriuki said the presence of the seats had contributed to the increased robbery cases in the city centre because it offers robbers vantage positions to monitor their victims.
He said the association was particularly opposed to having the public seats right outside banks and other financial institutions because they posed a security threat to the institutions and their customers.
“Some of these seats are placed outside ATM installations and therefore enables the robbers to monitor bank customers whenever they withdraw money,” he said.
Citing recent cases where customers have either been trailed to banks or from banks, Mr Muriuki said the public seats had played a key role in aiding robberies.
Mr Muriuki said the association had received numerous complaints from financial institutions which feel threatened by the presence of the public seats at their entrances and ATM installations.
“Most of these banks are complaining and they want the public seats outside their premises relocated. We just hope the council will consider doing so,” he said.