, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi on Monday directed police commanders to interact well with their juniors as part of measures to end suicide cases.
Matiangi said proper interaction can help identify frustrations the officers undergo at work or back home – which mainly leads to increased suicide cases.
He was categorical that senior police officers must move from the culture of instilling fear in their juniors and instead offer leadership.
“Service is about interacting with people you are working with, it is not about bossing people around. We must walk away from that habit,” the CS directed.
Matiangi was speaking at the Police Training College in Loresho, Nairobi, where he addressed senior police commanders attending a leadership course.
There have been increased suicide cases across the country involving police officers, while others resort to killing their spouses or colleagues.
He urged them to walk from the comfort of their offices and start going to police stations where other than interacting with the community, they should extend the same to their juniors.
Frustration by their seniors and low remuneration have been attributed as some of the factors leading to suicide cases within the service, but Matiangi says some of the challenges could be “ordinary.”
Details of a report handed to Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet over the cases four years ago remains unknown and whether its recommendations were implemented.
“We need to develop a solid strong mentorship programme within our services. That way, then we will have police officers who are confident, who are ready to serve and who we are ready to help. Let us know these people. Some of these could be going through ordinary challenges in life like disagreeing with their girlfriend and for a young person, they would think the world is over,” the CS said.
“We need to tell them not to worry. Tell them, she might change her mind but in the event she doesn’t, we will pray with you and hope you will get another one. So that they stop committing suicide.”
The National Police Service intends to hire professionals who will be offering counselling services to officers.
The Inspector General of Police, Deputy IG in charge of Kenya Police Edward Mbugua and his counterpart in charge of the Administration Police Noor Gabow were present when CS Matiangi issued the directive.
On January 13, a General Service Unit officer committed suicide in Kwale County. In December 2018, another officer killed his lover and turned the gun on himself in Isiolo.