Besides fighting insecurity, police reservists will help tackle drug abuse

National Police reservists during a security meeting in Mochongoi, Baringo south on March 8, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The fight against banditry and cattle raids in Kerio Valley has gained momentum following government decision to reinstate the National Police Reservists to assist security teams in cracking down on the criminals.

Armed bandits are blamed for the murder of hundreds of people, displacement of thousands of families and loss of property. In most cases, the bandits stage attacks in daylight, outwitting security personnel.

The reservists were disarmed during the Fred Matiang'i tenure as Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS), making it difficult for police alone to contain banditry and cattle rustling incidents. However, during a tour of Kerio Valley recently, President William Ruto ordered the reinstatement of police reservists, saying they are conversant with the local terrain.

Following the president’s directive, Interior CS Kithure Kindiki toured the region and promised to deploy 450 police reservists to boost security. Apart from insecurity, communities along the valley are struggling with the menace of alcohol and drug abuse that is taking toll on the lives of young people. Several lives have been lost to the menace and some youths have dropped out of school.

The redeployment of reservists will be a great boost to the war against alcohol and substance abuse that has become a major concern among the youth. Chiefs and their assistants have failed to end  cases of alcohol and drug abuse in their areas of jurisdiction because of lack of support from police.

Sexual assault

In fact, there are claims that police officers along the Kerio Valley collude with youths engaging in the vice to frustrate the work of chiefs in the fight against the drug menace.

A chief in Tot Division recently cheated death after a gang of drug addicts confronted him over what they termed his relentless efforts to eradicate the vice in his location. There is also an increase of cases in the region of drug addicts waylaying and sexual assault of girls and women. Residents are however optimistic that with the reinstatement of police reservists, the drug abuse menace will be contained.

On the other hand, it is also encouraging that the government has moved with speed to review police reservists policy to improve their management and conditions and terms of service so that they can restore peace along the Kerio Valley.

Police reservists are well-placed to deal with cases of insecurity because they understand the terrain as opposed to security personnel who are not conversant with the rocky and hilly terrain of the valley.

There is need to establish drug abuse control initiatives along the valley to boost the work of those fighting the menace. The government should promote and pursue approaches that combine prevention, treatment and enforcement to break cycle of substance abuse and crime.

Mr Kaino works for the Presidential Communication Service

The Standard
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