, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has proposed new regulations that are aimed at enhancing police accountability and improve police-community relations.
Speaking during a stakeholder’s consultative forum to discuss the regulations, IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru said the authority will also make recommendations to the NPS and other organs on ways to promote policing in the country.
The regulations propose tough measures for officers who do not secure evidence and preserve scenes in cases of deaths or serious injuries occurring in custody or during police operations.
Police officers who fail to report deaths or serious injuries that occur to persons in custody or as a result of police action risk disciplinary or criminal proceedings when the raft of regulations is gazetted.
IPOA will conduct investigations to establish if there was negligence in the performance of duty by a member of the National Police Service in which disciplinary action will be recommended.
A preliminary investigation will be undertaken in 15 days while a full investigation is expected to take four months to be completed.
In case the investigation discloses a criminal act by a police officer, the Authority may recommend prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecutions while if the probe finds shortcomings in the process or procedures of the police service, recommendations for improvements will be put forward.
Illegitimate use of excessive force by any police officer will also be investigated to ascertain responsibility which may lead to disciplinary or criminal charges.
The proposals have also recommended simplified processes of recording complaints on police which can be done orally or in writing by any individual.
“The objective is to establish the facts, aiming to prevent misconduct from happening again, provide remedy and support the police in enhancing professionalism and build greater public confidence,” according to the regulations.
Cases of gross misconduct, deaths and serious injuries will be investigated by IPOA while other complaints can be investigated by the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police but taken over by the authority if there is inordinate delay in the investigation.
Thematic reports will be given on deaths, serious injuries, patterns of police misconduct, functioning of internal disciplinary system, treatment of specific groups, anti-terrorism matters, handling of public order events and overall police reform.
To ensure that police premises meet minimum standards, IPOA will inspect police all facilities every two years including stations, detention and living areas in addition to monitoring distribution of resources and deployment of personnel.
Meanwhile, the authority will meet members of civil society organisations on Wednesday to receive their input on the regulations which are expected to be gazetted by the end of the year.
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority Board was sworn into office in June.
IPOA is mandated to investigate all deaths and serious injuries caused by a police officer on duty or as a result of police action; receive and investigate complaints from both members of the public as well as from police officers; investigate police misconduct on own motion; make recommendations for disciplinary action or prosecution as well as recommendations to prevent future misconduct.
The authority has powers to inspect police premises including detention and living facilities.
IPOA also has the mandate of monitoring police operations, keeping track of police misconduct patterns and auditing the Police Internal Affairs Unit.