Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) has responded to criticism by Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome .
The police boss on Friday differed with the Authority over its stand on use of firearms by the Police. Koome, who was speaking at an event to honour officers killed in the line of duty at the Embakasi AP Training College, urged police not to hesitate to use their guns in the event they needed to do so in executing their mandate.
In the last 12 months, 57 police officers lost their lives while at work according to statistic provided by the National Police Service.
“Don’t allow thugs to chop off your hand while you have a gun,” said the IG who further urged officers not to be intimidated by ‘busybodies’. His comments were seen as putting the police service and IPOA on a collision course given the latter’s stand on the issue. The Authority oversees police work and had warned it would go after officers who misuse their guns.
Yesterday, IPOA said it will continue oversight on the police, saying the agency will stick to its constitutional mandate. IPOA chair Anne Makori urged officers not to obey unlawful orders as the police oversight authority will hold them individually accountable.
“In all, the Authority wishes to remind police officers where criminal culpability has been established, that is after investigations, it is individuals who have been called to account, not the service….” the statement by IPOA said in part.
She made reference to President William Ruto’s speech on October 31, where he ‘proclaimed himself and his administration on extrajudicial deaths occurring as a result of rogue police officers. The statement also referenced the Police IG’s remarks during his swearing in on November 11th, acknowledging that ‘98 per cent of police officers are good, while the remaining two per cent needed to be rehabilitated with the support of institutions such as IPOA’.
IPOA said it has so far received over 20,000 complaints out of which 500 cases have been dealt with and a recommendation made to the Director of Public Prosecution to charge the officers involved. Makori said holding the Service accountable is not fault finding or a witchhunt but the authority seeking answers when incidents requiring its investigation occur.
“The Authority shall investigate any death or serious injury; including death or serious injury while in police custody, which are the result of police action or were caused by members of the Service while on duty”.
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“Holding the service accountable is not fault-finding or a witch hunt “ Makori said.
There has been tension between the National Police and IPOA. So bad is the situation that the National Police top command is reported to have raised the issue with President William Ruto during a meeting at State House, Nairobi. On October 31, President Ruto met the IPOA board members and directed the agency to formulate a plan that will bring to end extrajudicial killings.
On Monday, Ruto said IPOA is best placed to come up with the plan and hand it to the Ministry of Interior and National Administration.
“You are uniquely qualified to help us define a mechanism to stop this practice,” Ruto said.
Sources told The Sunday Standard IPOA and the National Police had differed on who would conduct investigations into the July incident where DCI officers were said to have been involved in the abduction of two Indian nationals and a taxi driver in Nairobi.