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What awaits new IG Japhet Koome

Inspector General of police Japheth Koome takes the oath of office at the Supreme Court Buildings on Friday, November 11, 2022. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The new Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome yesterday pledged to uphold the rule of law and deal firmly with criminals.

He was sworn in on Friday by Chief Justice Martha Koome who clarified that she has no relation with the IG who is succeeding Hilary Mutyambai.

“In fact, the name means one who is very clever. That is why it is loved by many people,” said the Chief Justice.

From the Supreme Court building where the swearing-in ceremony was held, Koome proceeded to his office at Jogoo Aouse A, where he was received by a team of senior police commanders among them the two Deputy Inspectors General.

And that marked the first day in office for the trained engineer at the powerful office where he will spend the next four years enforcing the law and running the affairs of the police service.

Koome faces a full in-tray including dealing with the rising cases of muggings and robberies in Nairobi that have seen Governor Johnson Sakaja seek his audience.

The issues that police boss has highlighted as his areas of focus include dealing with crime and maintaining discipline and professionalism in rank and file of the police service.

Robbed and assaulted

The Chief Justice urged him to reform the police service so it delivers services to Kenyans. “I also urge you to champion the constitutional dream of democratic police. This is the Kenyans’ dream of a police service that serves the people and upholds professionalism,” the CJ said.

Koome marked his first day in office by receiving his first security brief on the latest wave of crime that that has hit Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru counties.

Social media platforms have been awash with complaints from people saying they have been robbed and assaulted.

Away from the criminals in the streets, Koome has the challenge of boosting the morale of his officers as well as building relations between them and civilians.

He will be expected to weed out rogue officers without losing the unity of the service or setting the public up against them.  

Another headache for the new police boss is the endemic corruption in the police service. 

During his vetting, Koome said he was optimistic that he would change the culture of impunity and corruption in the police service.

Koome encouraged the public to report cases of corruption in the police to higher authority.

He also told the Vetting Committee he will introduce a reward scheme for civilians who report cases of police officers receiving bribes. “I intend to engage service commanders to have a reward mechanism for any civilian who captures with evidence an officer receiving a bribe,” he said.

He said he will ensure that police roadblocks and barriers are monitored to weed out corruption.

President William Ruto promised to review the remuneration and terms of service for all officers. Koome’s team will be keen to see this actualised.

President Ruto also promised to ensure lower cadre officers get the option of serving in their home counties or where they chose to retire once they turn 50.

Police officers will hope that Koome fulfills those promises including the one of providing life assurance cover for officers on duty as well as rolling out a contributory benevolent fund for families of dead and terminally ill officers.