Police stations inept to combat crime, report says

By Cyrus Ombati

KENYA: None of the 456 police stations in the country meet threshold of a modern unit to enable delivery of service to the public, a report launched yesterday has revealed.

The report calls for a total overhaul and equip all the police stations to enable police to deliver service to the public.

The report compiled by Usalama Reforms Forum wants treasury to immediately establish of a "Police Station Rehabilitation and Development Fund" to support the program of "resuscitating the dying police stations."

“Without the overhaul of the stations there will be no tangible police reforms as proposed by the Ransley report,” says part of the report.

The Usalama Reforms Forum report titled "Communities and their Police Stations Report" was launched yesterday by police spokesman Eric Kiraithe and paints a glim picture of the status of Kenya's police stations which are the face of the police service itself.

It was compiled after a survey of 21 police stations including Baragoi police stations across the country.

Currently there are 156 police divisions, 456 stations, 241 posts and 397 patrol bases in the country with Rift Valley leading with 40 divisions.

The study found out that most people contact the police by a way of a visit to the stations.

“But people do not just go to police stations to report crime. Others go to pay bond, ask for directions, report missing persons or lost property, inquire about associate who have been arrested, complain about anti-social neighbours or report being witnesses to a crime,” says part of the report.

The report found out that most buildings housing police stations have crumbling walls, leaks and poor ventilation while others lacked basic lighting, water. Lavatories, cells and insufficient parking to accommodate police vehicles and the public.

“Functions that should work closely together were separated and in some all functions were crammed up in one tiny office space.”

The report says police visit scenes of crime without protective gear, tapes and recording facilities and photographic equipment.

It further says police stations lack vehicles for their operations and those that have few, did not have enough fuel to enable them attend to the public.

The research established police work between 12 and 16 hours a day and they are always on call regardless of their shift and that this has depressed most of them.

“The current relations between the police stations and the community is one that is driven by the police desire to acquire information about criminal activity than promoting partnerships to invest in crime and violence prevention,” says part of the report.