Four men were recently arrested for attacking and robbing a pedestrian along Lenana Road in Nairobi. The four were traced to their hideout in Pangani and apprehended by the police with the help of CCTV footage.
Many of us are unfortunately used to hearing in the news about criminal activities perpetrated and as such, have sadly become desensitised.
What many of us don’t know, in part due to sensational reportage of such incidents, is that crime in our country is actually on the decline. Statistics collected by the police show that only twenty cases of violent robberies were recorded April and May each. This means that it is a safer time to be a Kenyan today than recently before.
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This significant reduction in crime did not take place in a vacuum. Rather, it has been the direct result of the crusade against criminal elements which President Uhuru Kenyatta has been waging since taking office in 2013.
His vision in this regard has been to provide our citizens with opportunities for growth and prosperity by ensuring domestic security. Police reform has been one of the central tools employed by Uhuru and his CS for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Security Dr. Fred Matiang’i in order to live up to their commitment to make Kenya a place where citizens can live and thrive in peace and security.
Police reform has included first and foremost, bringing Uhuru’s war on graft to the police service. At the most basic level, this is important as it makes sure that those tasked with keeping our citizens safe are indeed doing their job in the most honest way possible.
More important though is the fact that by ensuring an honest and non-corrupt police service, our government can restore the people’s faith in the police. This is imperative if we are to maintain law and order and prevent instances of vigilante justice.
Furthermore, in order to boost professionalism and ensure that police officers have both the equipment and skills necessary to execute their duties in the best way possible, Uhuru’s government unveiled an ambitious security sector reform plan involving a budget of close to Sh1 billion.
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The state also guided the national police in an internal command restructuring, focused on improving coordination between the national government and the now devolved county governments.
The use of advanced technology has been included as a focal point of Uhuru’s strategy to combat crime at home. Most recently in late last year, the Ministry of Interior acquired the 3500xL Genetic Analyser. This system is one of the most advanced in the world and will significantly increase our police services’ ability to solve crimes using modern DNA analysis.
According to CS Matiangi, "Kenya has now joined various first-world countries offering top-tier forensic services and DNA technology for disaster victim identification (DVI) and collection of evidence for adjudication in criminal cases and arbitration of disputed paternity". With such advanced tools at our police’s disposal, criminal elements will certainly be deterred from committing crimes that would otherwise most likely go unsolved.
The final step in Uhuru’s multi-pronged approach to tackling crime has been addressing it through a regional approach. Similar to the way in which European countries collaborate in combatting networked criminal elements, an understanding has developed over the course of the past few years that a similar approach must be taken in Africa if we are to effectively keep our countries safe.
Cooperation has thus been encouraged with regional partners, such as South Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. This has included regional training courses in collaboration with Interpol as well as constructing frameworks for information sharing both about criminals who are on the run as well as in terms of evidence that might help a partner country build a case against perpetrators. The understanding has been that on a continent with so many common interests, only a common approach can keep everyone safe.
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Only when a feeling of security is present can citizens dedicate their time to other endeavours, such as building families, thriving in business and cultural activities. The right to security is a basic human right that each and every one of our citizen deserves, and that Kenyans have for too long been deprived of. We are lucky to have a President that has dedicated his time in office to making sure that all of our citizens feel safe in their own home.
Mr Cherambos comments on topical issues. [email protected]