, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31- A new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has identified lack of capacity and resources as a major challenge on the ongoing reforms in the National Police Service in Kenya.
The report released on Friday recommends more resources be channelled towards the police service but be focused mostly on reforming individual police officers, in a bid to change their mind-set.
The Head of Kenya Development Cooperation Section at the Swedish Embassy Anders Ronquist said there is need for an all inclusive approach by various stakeholders, if the police service was to be fully reformed.
“The evaluation that has been made shows that there have been great steps forward. We have institutions like IPOA in place,” he pointed out.
“The police service is reforming slowly but indisputably. We just need to look carefully on the challenges highlighted today by the evaluation team and address them.”
He said there was also need to improve the coordination between all institutions involved in police reforms and other sectors of the criminal justice system like the Judiciary.
Some of key achievements highlighted include the development of key policies and strategies for the service which include a strategic plan (2014-2018), new service standing orders, an anti-corruption strategy, a code of conduct and a communication strategy.
The report however emphasised the need for involvement of the civil societies in the reforms journey that has put Kenya second from South Africa on police reforms in Africa.
Independent Medico Legal Unit Executive Director Peter Kiama says the civil society has a big role in boosting police-public trust that is yet to be achieved.
“The biggest deficit the police suffer is public confidence and legitimacy. One of the most important pillar in terms of implementing police reforms in this second phase especially before we go to the next general elections is to ensure that we legitimize the police service in the eyes of the public,” he stated.
He says this way, conflict between public and police will drastically reduce.
During the event, the Swedish Government also doubled their funding to the police service to Sh366.5 million from Sh187.7 million.
Swedish Ambassador to Kenya Johan Borgstam applauded the government for launching community policing which he said will help prevent crime through early detection.
He said community policing will also be a major catalyst towards boosting police relationship with the public and eventually the flow of information that can help curb insecurity.
Borgstam noted that this will foster an active partnership between police and the public, “through which crime and community safety issues can jointly be discussed and solutions determined and implemented.”
Among the initiatives the Swedish Government undertaken in supporting police reforms in Kenya, include construction of a gender and child protection unit at Kikuyu Police Station and training of 42 trainers by Sweden’s National Police Board.
They have also trained 10 police officers on the initiative along with the Chairman of the Kikuyu Community Policing Committee at the Institute of Police Education-Linneaus University in Sweden.
Other than in Kikuyu, similar projects have been rolled out to four other areas namely Kimilili Police Station in Bungoma County, Kajiado Police Station in Kajiado County and Riontonyi Police Station in Kisii County.
Sotik Police Station in Bomet has also benefited from the project.
In this year’s financial allocation, the Government had a substantial allocation of funds to the police.
In the 2014-15 financial year, Sh62.2 billion was set aside for policing services, Sh71.3 billion for the Kenya Defence Forces and Sh17.4 billion for the National Security Intelligence.
To enhance police mobility, the government will spend Sh6.7 billion to lease 2,700 motor vehicles and aircraft.
To increase police numbers, the government will use Sh2.9 billion for police recruitment and training.
In a bid to enhance police operations, the government will use Sh3.3 billion and Sh3.5 billion for upgrade of police equipment and modernisation and Sh1.3 billion to cater for police housing.