, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 11- The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has launched a four-year strategic plan that is meant to help in pushing for accountability in the police service.
The plan seeks to enhance police compliance to human rights standards, improve detention facilities and police premises.
Through the plan, the authority also hopes to restore public confidence and trust in police as well as ensure the Internal Affairs Unit of police was functional.
Speaking during the launch on Thursday, IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru said the authority will implement the plan with objectivity and professionalism.
“We in IPOA will be objective as we carry out our work. We shall ensure our conclusions are evidence-based and that professionalism is an integral part of our end product at all times,” he stated. “We aspire to be a model institution in Africa and beyond.”
He noted that they have continued investigating cases of police brutality affirming that they do not act on rumors.
“It is worrying to note the blatant contempt by police commanders for express constitutional and legal provisions regarding the use of lethal force and handling of firearms generally,” he complained.
“IPOA will undoubtedly pay special focus in this area and ensure appropriate action is taken.”
“Positive change of policing in Kenya will not happen by fluke. It will require appropriate strategy involving focused, police leadership, change management, infusion of professionalism and above all respect for the rule of law.”
He highlighted IPOA’s success story, a case in Githurai where a police officer has been charged with murder.
Aware of the protest over his arrest he made clear that, “IPOA will not just collect evidence or act on rumors and take action. It is a process because we are also accountable to other institutions.”
“But finally whoever is charged, he has a day in court because we are not the one to determine the guilt of someone or otherwise.”
On his part, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo assured the public that the service will continue implementing all recommended reforms. He asked those protesting in Githurai against detention of a police officer in Githurai to do it as per the law without, “violating other people’s right.”
Kimaiyo said if they have genuine concerns, they should follow the constitutionally accepted procedures to air them without affecting other innocent Kenyans.
The officer, Titus Musila was charged with murder following recommendations by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority over the death of a suspect last year.
The police officer has been highly praised for “his good service to the community”, more so for his approach in dealing with thugs.
He is accused of killing Kenneth Kimani Mwangi in Githurai, Nairobi on April 14, 2013.
IPOA which investigated the death, opened inquiries after a key witness in the trial, Oscar Muchoki Mwangi, was also shot dead on August 24 this year.
The victims were brothers, and the second one was also killed in Githurai, just three days after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ordered the arrest and prosecution of the officer.
Njeru pointed out that he was aware that, “we will encounter challenges but this shall be part of lessons learnt. We are certain our work will be no mean task. Resistance is expected.”
“However we are resolute that failing is not an option and we are determined to surmount impediments that may come our way.”
Retired Judge, Phillip Ransley who has widely been involved in police reforms said the National Police Service “is yet to gain approval of the Kenyan public.”
He said the service must fight against corruption as a way boosting its public trust. Among the functions of IPOA is to investigate deaths and serious injuries caused by police action.
Deaths and serious injuries arising from police action are investigated by the authourity and disciplinary action or prosecution recommended.
They also investigate police misconduct following complaints from members of the public.
IPOA can initiate investigations on its own motion and may refer cases to appropriate bodies including seeking the court’s intervention to have its recommendations implemented.