, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – Police officers deployed on traffic duty will now carry firearms to enable them discharge their duties effectively after an officer was engaged in a bloody brawl by a truck driver on Thika Road.
The decision to arm all the traffic police officers was reached on Friday after high level consultations amongst senior police officers at Vigilance House, the police headquarters.
"This issue raises serious security and safety concerns for our officers who are deployed to enforce the law out there, the traffic police officers will now have to be armed whenever they are on duty," Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said.
"By operating without arms, the officers are increasingly finding it difficult to discharge their duties especially when confronted by hostile situations like the one that occurred on Wednesday," he added.
He said the officers would start carrying firearms immediately.
Mr Kiraithe said the directive requiring traffic police officers to carry firearms was not unique because police officers on duty are required to carry arms.
"It is not something new, the traffic police officers just like any other officer on duty are required to carry firearms," he said. "Most of them have not been carrying firearms but they have to be armed now."
Vigilance House was furious with Wednesday\’s incident that left one of their officers with serious injuries arrest.
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"I have watched that video clip, it is disturbing and it raises serious questions of the safety of our officers in the field," he said.
The Police Spokesman is however, urging members of the public to always cooperate with police officers "because the laws they enforce are for the benefit of the general public."
"It is disturbing to see members of the public cheering as a policeman is being beaten like what happened on Thika Road," he said.
The truck driver was later apprehended and charged in court with assaulting a police officer and resisting lawful arrest.
Mr Kiraithe said more charges would be filed against the man in due course.
"We intend to file more charges in due course," he said without elaborating.
He said they would also apply to have the man\’s driving licence revoked permanently.
"We are empowered by the law to withdraw licences of such persons, and I can tell you that application is going to be made," he added.
Driving licences are issued by the Road Transport Department at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in accordance with the Traffic Act.