, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has commissioned a research to establish the cause of the stress levels amongst his officers, in the wake of increased cases of policemen killing their seniors or colleagues before they commit suicide.
This follows four recent incidents where police officers have either committed suicide or killed fellow officers – mainly their seniors – in various parts of the country.
The most recent incident occurred at the Parklands Police station in Nairobi at the weekend where a junior officer shot dead his senior and wounded another officer before he committed suicide.
"We have realised that police officers are working under a lot of stress. Take for example the time one works or puts in a day. None of the officers put less than 14 hours in each day," the police boss stated.
"The same scenario is repeated across the country. That is one of the factors that contribute to the stress to our officers," he said.
In latest incident, witnesses said Constable Jacob Rop and Senior Sergeant Hassan Yusuf engaged in a heated argument as Mr Rop was returning his AK-47 rifle after night duty at about 7am on Saturday.
Constable Rop then reportedly aimed his rifle and fired at Sergeant Hassan at close range killing him instantly.
The constable also shot another police officer stationed at the report desk on the chest as he rushed to the scene to intervene.
The police chief told journalists on Monday morning that the study would also look into the working environment of police officers and the kind of impact it has on them.
"Most of the stations across the country do not have a single service for our motor vehicles and yet members of the public expect better responses to incidences reported to the station," he pointed out.
"With regard to living conditions of the officers, very few officers have got what you can call decent accommodations and these are some of the areas that as a service we have identified which directly or indirectly contribute to these acts that we have seen over time," he explained further.
Mr Iteere said that the police force will use the recommendations in the report to take various measures in order to curb such incidents in future.
He further stated that studies in Sociology and Psychiatry have been introduced into the police training curriculum to address the stress levels among police officers.
Mr Iteere explained that the training will be rigorous and it is expected that by the end of it, they will be able to effectively undertake their duties.
"In the newly crafted curriculum, we have come up with a module to address guidance and counselling. In it, we have introduced two very important subjects, sociology and psychology," he said.
"Already we have identified officers who have the requisite training in the areas and have already posted them to all the training colleges so that they can take the recruits through," he stated.
He said it will go a long way in ensuring that officers are prepared mentally to cope with stressful situations.
"This will be a milestone since it will address areas touching on the mental well being of the officers themselves. When we last recruited professionals into the service, we were able to recruit four trained officers into the service," he explained.
"We have two within Nairobi area, another one attached to the General Service Unit and one other in Nyanza province."