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Police should act fast to end surging crime wave

A screenshot of a viral video where a woman is being robbed by a group of youth in Nairobi's CBD.

Cries of alarm as crime hits a new high can be heard across the country. Notably, the spate of crime worsened in the last month or so, which coincided with the disbandment of the elite Special Services Unit (SSU) of the Police Service. 

Among the first things that President William Ruto did upon assumption of office was to disband the SSU following allegations it was responsible for extrajudicial killings and disappearances of some human right activities and citizens who rubbed powers that be the wrong way. 

There has been an exponential increase in muggings in Nairobi, Nakuru, Busia and Kakamega towns, among many others. The most worrying thing is that the stabbings, robberies and muggings are done in broad daylight, yet none of the emboldened criminals get arrested.

Fundamentally, this raises a lot of questions from the citizens’ perspective, all which, unfortunately, seem to point to police laxity or complicity.

Granted, police officers cannot be deployed everywhere at the same time, but a lot is expected from them in line with their oath to protect citizens from criminals and those who expose them to danger.

Instances where victims give valuable information to the police but no action is ever taken abound. Last week, residents of Busia threatened to take the law into their hands as far as criminals are concerned because the police have continually failed them.

In Kakamega recently, residents took the law into their own hands and killed some individuals. While the concerns of citizens are understandable, the danger is that innocent people could be killed through mob justice at the instigation of unscrupulous individuals. It is for this reason that we must have a police service, not just in name, but in action for justice to prevail. 

Police have no excuse but to diligently execute their mandate, keeping citizens safe, and criminals behind bars. Kenyans therefore hold Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome to his pledge to deal with criminals ruthlessly. That must, however, be done within the law.