NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – The chairman of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) board Macharia Njeru has assured that his office will restore respect for the rule of law within the police service.
Njeru warned that it will no longer be business as usual in the force and that those who will not be performing to the expectations of the public will have no place in a reformed police service.
Njeru who spoke on Monday morning after a swearing in ceremony at the Supreme Court insisted that the oversight authority will not be toothless as it seeks to entrench professionalism and transparency in the force.
“While we appreciate that there is need for improvement of the conditions of service of our police. This is no excuse for them to engage in professional misconduct or criminality,” he said.
“The police service is the most misused institution by sections of all government arms, business people and other influence peddlers who freely access the service at the expense of the weak and underprivileged. This must stop!” he emphasised.
The IPOA board is mandated to investigate any complaints related to disciplinary or criminal offences committed by any member of the National Police Service.
The board shall, either on its own motion or on receipt of a complaint, make recommendations to the relevant authorities, including recommendations for prosecution, compensation, internal disciplinary action or any other appropriate relief, and shall make public the response received to these recommendations.
It shall also receive and investigate complaints by members of the service as well as monitor and investigate policing operations affecting members of the public.
Further, IPOA will present any information it deems appropriate to an inquest conducted by a court of law and take all reasonable steps to facilitate access to the authority’s services for the public.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga who presided over the ceremony challenged the oversight team to navigate through any challenges as they seek to transform a key institution in the delivery of justice.
The CJ reaffirmed that the spirit of reforms in the country was unstoppable particularly in institutions charged with delivery of justice and that there needed to be proper coordination in the reform.
“I have faced a lot of challenges and intimidation but they energise me now. Intimidation and threats embolden me; I hope that you will join me in the trenches to transform these two institutions that are maligned and condemned. IPOA is part of the assembly of the administration of justice,” he said.
Internal Security PS Mutea Iringo who was present affirmed the government’s commitment to the reform process and also challenged the authority to fulfill its part of the reform process.
Iringo said: “We want to see a police service that is accountable to the people, trusted and transparent; the government is committed to the reform program despite the numerous resources needed.”
Tom Kagwe, Fatuma Ali Saman, Jane Njeri, Jedida Pilale, Grace Madoka, Vincent Kiptoo and Rose Awuor were sworn in as members of the board.
The board will serve for six years.