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Lack of resources stalls police war on gender violence

By Winfrey Owino | June 22nd 2021
A Policare centre in Makueni County. [Jeckonia Otieno, Standard]

The Kenya Police Service has decried lack of resources to fight the rising cases of sexual and gender-based violence. 

According to Policare project coordinator Zipporah Nderitu, the service is unable to implement policies to address the gender crimes due to inadequate resources.  

Some of the projects affected include construction, equipment purchase and hiring of staff at its pilot centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi.

Policare services is a police-led initiative launched on August 18, 2020 to address SGBV cases. However, it has not started operations at its pilot centre months after the launch.

The idea was to have a "one-stop centre" with police officers, forensic investigators, health providers, psychologists, DPP representative, magistrate on call, medico-legal staff, gender experts and correctional personnel, all under one roof.

As of June 20, the pilot centre had none of the above except an old building on less than an eighth of an acre, re-painted, partitioned and some old furniture moved in which doesn’t fit the original plan.

Forensic expert

No significant progress has been made and none of the SGBV victims has walked into the centre.

For instance, the pilot centre was to have a forensic expert to analyse evidence brought in by victims. But according to the project's coordinator, this is a tall order. 

"If the centre were to start operations today, we would have to transport forensic evidence collected to the lab on Kiambu Road every day. We would really appreciate it if other players in this sector joined us in this journey,” said Nderitu.

On a positive note, Nderitu said they are in talks with the National Gender Equality Commission in efforts to mobilise resources to make the centre operational.

According to NGEC commissioner Priscilla Nyokabi, the combined efforts are aimed to bring on board other stakeholders in the gender activism sector.

“This has been our dream for the past decade. Now that the police have made the first move, all we (stakeholders) need is to support this initiative,” Nyokabi told The Standard.

Nderitu revealed that the centre needed a direct link with the Ministry of Health, Information Communications Technology (data storage and operations applications), Transport services, a safe haven for victims and psycho-social support.

While opening the centre, Edward Mbugua, the Deputy Inspector General of Police said the project was aimed at solving cases that go unreported because of poor services in the stations.  

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