NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – A civil society activist has moved to court to compel the police to restore emergency number ‘999’ to enable the public efficiently report crime.
Okiya Omtatah argues that lack of the emergency numbers is one of the main factors to blame for the rising cases of insecurity in the country.
“The lack of an emergency number hampers the ability of the police to fight crime,” Omtatah says in his application.
“When Akobwait Village of Teso South District, Busia County, was attacked by a marauding gang which left death and destruction in its wake, I was forced to call the Inspector General of the National Police Service and the Director of CID on their personal mobile numbers because the ‘999’ police emergency response number is defunct,” he argues.
Attorney General Githu Muigai and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo are named as respondents in the urgent application filed by Omtatah.
In the application he has stated that the lack of an emergency number amounted to the police “abdicating” their duties to prevent crime and in responding to emergencies.
Further he has states that the lack of an emergency number was an impediment to the efficient and effective day-to-day administration and operations of the Kenya Police Service.
Omtatah has petitioned the court to issue an interim order to compel the respondents to provide a toll free ‘999’ police emergency response number pending the hearing and determination of the case.
He has also asked the court to order a full disclosure by the respondents why they have failed to provide a toll free police emergency response number.
Omtatah insists that fighting crime needs input from the public despite being a function of the police.
“When a police force is isolated from the public by not operating a toll free police emergency response number then it is not operating efficiently. For the police to succeed in their war against criminals, they need the active and effective participation of the general public in crime prevention,” he avers.
The petition from the activist came on the day president Uhuru Kenyatta summoned top security chiefs to State House Nairobi over escalating insecurity countrywide.
Western, North Eastern and Nairobi provinces have been the worst affected by the wave of crime experienced in the country in the recent weeks.
The meeting at State House follows another one chaired by the Inspector General David Kimaiyo at the CID Training School in South ‘C’ earlier on Thursday.
In April, police said that they were in the process of strengthening existing communication lines particularly the hotlines as well revive the free emergency call line ‘999’.