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Communication Commission of Kenya, police ordered to restore 999 emergency number

By By Lucianne Limo | July 10th 2013

By Lucianne Limo

NAIROBI, KENYA: The High court has given the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK),mobile phone service providers and the police service until end month to restore the 999 emergency response number.

High Court Judge David Majanja directed the parties to appear before him on July 31 to update the court on the move.

The court gave the orders in a case filed by Okiya Omtatah who asked the court to order the National Police Service to provide a toll free 999 emergency response and reasons why they have failed to do so in the past.

He has sued the NPS, Attorney General, Independent Oversight Authority, Communication Commission of Kenya, the Commission for Implementation of the Constitution, Yu mobile, Orange, Airtel and Safaricom.

The respondents had informed the court that they had held two meeting to discuss the possibilities of restoring the service and asked for more time to discuss the matter.

Justice Majanja asked the respondents to file in court the minutes of the two meeting they have held.

“Omtatah had told the court that the nation is currently under the grip of insecurity and the toll free 999 police emergency response number is defunct.

He argued that lack of emergency number amounts to police abdicating their duties to prevent and fight crime.

“The lack of toll free number is an impediment to the efficient and effective day to day administration and operations of police service, “he added.

Omtatah told the court that when Akobwait village of Teso South district in Busia county was attacked by a gang, he was forced to call the inspector General of NPS and CID director on their personal mobile numbers because the 999 emergency number was defunct.

“Although crime prevention is the priority for police, it is not the sole responsibility of officers but of all citizens, “he added.

He said by not having a police emergency response number is a dangerous gap which would not be allowed to undermine Kenya’s disaster preparedness.

“When the police force is isolated from the public by not operating a toll free police emergency response number, then it is not operating efficiently, since for the police to succeed in their war against criminals, they need the active and effective participation of the general public in crime prevention, “said Omtatah.

He said it’s the right of Kenyans to expect the highest professional standards from the police service.

“There is requirement of justice that the provision of the toll free number will allow both the police and the public to discharge their constitutional mandate of fighting crime, “he said.

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