NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – The National Police Service has been challenged to work towards enhancing its relationship with members of the public if at all they are to receive real-time intelligence about security issues.
Over the past years, police have had a strained relationship with the mostly those drawn from informal sectors, who usually accuse authorities of heavy handedness.
But Chief Justice David Maraga says the situation is gradually improving and already there is a seamless flow of information from the public to police.
“Police service performs a very critical function of maintaining order and protecting Kenyans and their property,” he said.
“I urge you to maintain discipline and professionalism in what you do.”
He was speaking at the Supreme Court where he presided over the swearing-in of the Deputy Inspector General of Police Noor Gabow and Edward Mbugua to the National Police Service Commission.
He has challenged the Commission to ensure the welfare of police officers is improved as well.
“There are several issues that involve the welfare of police officers. I want you to serve the service and ensure police officers right from the lowest to the highest rank are motivated so that they can be able to perform their duties as required by law,” he said.
Other than enhancing police mobility, the government has erected police houses in attempts to improve the current situation.
There have also been calls for an increase in pay, more so by junior officers.
Though the trend is gradually changing, in the past years there have been tens of cases where a junior officer turned his gun on their seniors due to poor working relationship and conditions.
More than 7 months late, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet is yet to make public a task force report on such killings that have been linked to poor working conditions, trauma among other reasons.
The disharmony between junior officers and their seniors has also been identified as a contributory factor to the worrying trend.
On February 22, an Administration Police officer shot dead his colleague and injured another one before killing himself in Embakasi’s Tassia area, within Nairobi County.
On December 4, 2016, a Police officer shot his wife – who was also a member of the service – dead in Tharaka Nithi.
Available statistics show that up to three police officers are shot and injured or killed by their colleagues every month, raising serious concerns in the country.
On July 14, 2016 an officer went on a shooting spree killing six colleagues during a day-long siege at Kapenguria Police Station.
He also shot and killed a Recce Squad officer who was part of an elite team that stormed the station on a rescue mission that eliminated him.
There are also cases where police officers have shot themselves dead, an example being at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where a female Police officer Gaudencia Wausi Muinde killed herself in the toilet using a pistol.
Postings on her Facebook page prior to the incident showed that she was frustrated and had alluded to taking her own life.
A senior Police officer aware of recommendations in the enquiry report on police shootings of colleagues told Capital FM News that poor working conditions, low pay and low morale is to blame for most of the cases.