IG Japhet Koome differs with IPOA on firearms use by the police

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure cuts a ribon as IG Japhet Koome looks on during a memorial service for national police officers and Kenya prisons services fallen heroes and heroines. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome yesterday openly differed with Independent Policing Oversight Authority over the latter's stand on firearm use by the police.

IG, who spoke in Nairobi, urged his officers not to hesitate to use their firearms in the event that they need to do so while executing their mandate.

“Don’t allow thugs to chop off your hand while you have a gun," Koome said at the Administration Police College during an event held to honour police officers who were killed in the line of duty.

Fifty-seven police officers lost their lives while at work in the last year according to statistics by the police.

Koome’s remarks will put the National Police Service on a collision course with IPOA which oversees police work and had warned that it would go after police officers who misuse their firearms.

There has been tension between the National Police and IPOA.

So bad is the situation that the National Police top command is reported to have raised the issue with President William Ruto during a meeting at State House, Nairobi.

On October 31, President Ruto met the IPOA board members and directed the agency to formulate a plan that will bring to an end extrajudicial killings.

on Monday, Ruto said IPOA is best placed to come up with the plan and hand it to the Ministry of Interior and National Administration. 

Supporting families 

"You are uniquely qualified to help us define a mechanism to stop this practice," Ruto said.

Sources told The Standard IPOA and the National Police had differed on who would conduct investigations into the July incident where DCI officers were said to have been involved in the abduction of two Indian nationals and a taxi driver in Nairobi.

The then acting Inspector General of Police Noor Gabow directed the National Police Internal Affairs unit to investigate the matter after it emerged that police officer were involved.

This decision did not go down well with some of the IPOA commissioners who felt that the investigation should have been left to IPOA.

It’s at this point that the frosty relationship between IPOA and the National Police was first brought to the attention of President Ruto, according to the informed sources.

During yesterday's event, Interior CS Prof Kindiki Kithure said the government would continue supporting the families of police officers who had lost their lives in the line of duty.

Already, the government has set up a fund for dependents of officers who have died in the line of work.

The CS said this fund will help the dependents of officers killed on duty get scholarships for their children and also access medical services.