, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 22 – The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) now says it has so far received 759 complaints against individual police officers, most of which are related to sexual harassment.
Speaking during a forum with editors at a Nairobi hotel on Thursday, Chairman Macharia Njeru indicated that they are keen to establish claims that most female police officers are asked for sexual favours to earn promotions.
“One area that we are going to focus on as IPOA is cases of sexual harassment within the service itself. These are now complaints by the police against the police,” he stated.
“It is a very serious thing and a lot of women suffer where they are subjected to a lot of harassment by their seniors. That is a major area that we are going to be reigning in on seriously.”
He further pointed out that there are no structures within the management to deal with such complaints.
“It is definitely a major problem and we are not convinced that there is serious action that is being taken within the management structure to reign in on it. It is a problem that has to be dealt with and that is why we have instituted our own committee to deal with that issue because it is one that requires a lot of attention,” he said.
He indicated that it is an area which needs to be dealt with expeditiously and revealed that IPOA has set up a committee to deal with sexual harassment.
“We have to protect out women also in the National Police Service. It should not be expected that a member of the service either has to be promoted or transferred to a better area based on the sexual favours that are demanded of them by their seniors. So there are all these categories of complaints which are wide and varied,” he said.
He stated that there are also cases reported to them in which police officers died under unclear circumstances, rudeness and negligence in their duties.
“There are numerous complaints relating to death and serious injury cases which of course we are giving priority. There are many cases of police demanding bribes; police not undertaking investigations through negligence or abdication of duties. There are also cases of rudeness or unprofessional conduct,” he said.
He revealed that a report regarding the complaints should be ready in the next two weeks.
“We are going to have a performance report that will be released within the next two weeks. Out of the 759 complaint that we have received so far, we are able to undertake further action on 84 of them in terms of investigations,” he said.
“You must remember that we are still fairly new and we do not have many investigators. Since they have started working on the actual investigations, within the next one month or so, we should be able to now start having conclusions on them”
He emphasised that once concluded, their recommendations will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions to take action against those guilty or if no evidence is found, the individuals will be cleared.
“We will make it our business to conclude investigations one way or the other. If it is prosecution, being able to say this is the recommendation, if it is disciplinary action, this is the recommendation, if it is clearing a police officer, we will clear them. Whatever the case, we want to have investigations that are being commenced, undertaken and concluded and we inform the public together with the full facts.”