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Community Policing: What is it?

By | June 17th 2009

By Mwangi Muiruri

As she sits in her office at Vigilance House, Beatrice Nduta exudes an aura of authority.

She is the Director of Community Policing, a department with the arduous task of making citizens view the police as friends.

The department, she says, is also mandated to champion gender and child protection.

"My work is to ensure police officers and the public work harmoniously for security to prevail as well as restore gender respect and protect children’s rights," she says.

Having so far risen to the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP), technically she is just a pulse away from being police commissioner.

Regarding children’s rights, Nduta rails at parents who she says have abdicated their duties.

"You have become so busy in your careers and businesses that you have delegated parental roles to house girls, teachers and peers. Do not lament when your child joins one of the many criminal groups," she warns.

Jail materials

Nduta accuses the society of conspiracy to stifle children’s rights.

"Today, you even hear of parents compromising on rape and defilement against their children. Others hold Kangaroo courts to fine rapists or defilers goats and cows. Come on, get serious and know a child’s rights are not negotiable. Those are jail materials," she says.

To be what she is, Nduta has traversed many fields in the police force since she joined Kiganjo Police Training College on February 14, 1975.

Born in Murang’a North District, the fourth born in a family of nine, in retrospect, she says: "I’m proud of the work I do, the force I serve in and its future."

Though she warns the job is not a bed of roses especially for women, she nevertheless urges more women to seek positions in the force and work hard to give it gender parity.

"The training is tough. The work is challenging and competition for positions dueling. But there are women in that mix. Come and join it too," she encourages.

Nduta says discipline and hard work saw her rise through the ranks and recommends the same for all women professionals.

"There are no shortcuts to career progress. Integrity is the key word, discipline and hard work the recipe," she tips.

Jewel on cap

But for the modern woman aspiring to become a person of substance career wise, she has some advice: "Dress properly to be taken seriously.

This habit of walking into offices with your burst and tummy out as well as with those short things worn tight will get you nowhere."

Nduta’s first posting was in Nairobi Area, where in 1976 she served at Karen Police Station. She also served at Hardy, Muthangari and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

In 1980, she was promoted to Corporal; in 1982 she became a sergeant before becoming a Chief Inspector in 1984.

Come 1985, Nduta was posted to Moi Airport Mombasa as a security officer before being shuffled back to JKIA a year later.

"In 1986, I was posted to Kiganjo police training college as a trainer where I served for four years," she says.

This stint added a jewel on her cap, as she got elevated to the rank of Chief Inspector.

And in 1990, she was posted back to Coast Province to serve as a staffing officer. "I became the Officer Commanding Nyali Police Station, a fast one for women," she proudly says.

This is where she encountered an incident that amuses her to date.

"There was this man who came to see the Officer Commanding the Station. He was shown into my office where he told me he was there to see the commander. He was not accustomed to women commanders and he could not believe I was the one in charge," she says.

Nduta recalls the man went to the Provincial Police boss to report that there was "a woman officer at Nyali station impersonating the commander and even sits in his chair".

She cites Nyali as "one of the toughest phases of my career".

She explains: "That place is divided into two. On one side lives law abiding citizens while the other has the majority who require no prompting to engage in criminal activity."

Nduta compares the place with Nairobi’s Muthaiga and Mathare slums.

Gazetted officer

She was to become the Officer Commanding Police Control Room, commonly known by the hotline number 999 in 1993.

In 1994, she was posted to Bamburi Police Station as a commander and in 1996, she was sponsored by the force to further her studies in Kiganjo.

"That is when I became a gazetted officer, a feat given to officers above the rank of Superintendent of Police," she says.

The gazettement occurs after being interviewed by the Public Service Commission and with it comes more job security.

In 2004, Nduta became the Kenya Airports Authority police unit deputy commandant and in 2005 was elevated to a full commandant.

"This is where, besides ensuring security in our airports, I was also responsible of taming drug traffickers from using our airports as well as collaborating in efforts to check illegal migrants," she explains.

She was to later last year go back to class at the National Defence College from where she was deployed to her current position of a Director of Community Policing.

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