, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22- As Independent Policing Oversight Authority inaugural board exit office, stakeholders have expressed mixed reactions over their performance, but in their detailed end term report, they try to explain what transpired.
Top in their list of challenges according to the report is lack of cooperation by the National Police Service, a move that has derailed most of the 9,000 cases lodged with them.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet has admitted that their working relationship with IPOA was not all smooth but hopes it will be strengthened in future.
“That difficult relationship was not borne of a deliberate effort on our part but it was because of a bit of difficulty in approach into how oversight the police should be done,” the IG said on Monday, during a ceremony to handover their end-term report to Interior CS Fred Matiangi.
According to the report presented by outgoing chairperson Macharia Njeru, the non-cooperation by the service has seen concerted efforts by some officers to cover up crimes, evidence being tampered with, in a motive of circumventing IPOA investigations, in cases where police are implicated.
This, the report says includes “numerous failures to notify the authority on deaths and serious injuries as a result of police action have noted, with mishandling, mismanagement or interference of incidence scenes.”
In a bid to justify police actions, the report indicates that there was a skewed interpretation of applicable laws, poor record keeping and failure to maintain proper records as per the law or service standing orders.
It also reveals that there have been, “manipulation of Arms and Ammunition Movement Register, un-serialized or unsealed documents to circumvent justice course.”
During the 6 years, IPOA had 4 convictions only, but they say more work was put in setting up the organisational structure, create policies and working processes as well as recruit and train competent staff.
To address this, IPOA has called for the need to harmonise command and coordination structure to the lowest level of policing.
Police, IPOA recommends that they should “aggressively embrace technology to improve its operations and service delivery to the public especially at the Police Station levels, and with the empowerment of Station Commanders as AIE holders among others.”
“Also, key experts such as prosecutors, pathologists, government analysts, and hospitals have been reluctant to assist and cooperate with the Authority’s investigations owing to interference by police.”
And that, coupled with witness intimidation “and threats if not elimination, and heavy police presence in court during IPOA cases” impeded justice course.
In the six years, the authority has received Sh3 billion from the national coffers, some Sh34 million being used to pay its eight commissioners led by the outgoing chairperson Macharia Njeru.
The commission has also received millions of donor funding, led by the United States.