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Police top brass will hold every misbehaving officer to account

OPINION
By Bruno Isohi Shioso | August 25th 2021

Police cornered one of the demonstrators at the IEBC head Office in Nairobi during nationwide CORD demo day in 2016 [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

In the last few weeks, a public discourse riding on gross policing infractions has erupted in the country. At hand are enumerated instances of alleged police excesses visited upon hapless members of the public by those supposed to protect them--the police.

At the very onset, it is important to note that all of the unfortunate incidences that have dominated the media space, and other unreported ones, are subject to either judicial interventions or active investigations by competent authorities, including internal police administrative actions.

But even more important is to note that the Inspector General with his senior leadership and command level staff are well-seized of the matters, and continue to provide proactive leadership as a mitigation to unwarranted future offending by law enforcement officers against the public - police employers and consumers of policing services and products.

The leadership of the service commends members of the public, essentially our esteemed policing clients, for their high sense of consumerism activism. Throughout the discourse, they have demonstrated their unparalleled ‘wokeness’ on human rights, civil liberties and personal freedoms, including rights of their properties as inalienable and irreducible.

Value system

Such a rights’ disposition by the general public at all levels is a testament of high ideals to be espoused in a democracy. This pleases the leadership more since such hawkish activism against police infractions, pushed forward by ordinary citizens, tends to shape policing towards transformative outcomes.

It is only through timely feedback from the frontline that the policing loop comes full circle, and the police leadership in policing, strategy-making and execution functions shall iterate further through innovation and creativity to package timely responsive interventions.

Sheer irresponsible policing as that reported has no place in our current constitutional dispensation or within the policing architecture’s expectation. The Constitution, the National Police Act, other related statutes, internal police policy and procedure guidelines, the NPS Strategy, amongst others, clearly define the policing character to be adopted by all those professing to be the ‘peace angels.’

The oath taken by police officers, including the reinforcing value system, clearly demonstrates the path to be trodden by all officers. In sum, and as decreed by Sir Robert Peel (then former UK home secretary and later PM) in 1829 through the famous nine principles of policing “… police are the public and the public are the police” still stands the test of time.

This principle sets out the origination and purpose of the police. And it is unfortunately one concept not well-captured through the universal police doctrine and practice, leading to unnecessary conflicts borne out of the contention and assumption of “us versus them” – and by all global police agencies.

Our understanding, and which we are passing down to all police officers, is that the police are a component of the society but only empowered by such society to perform certain tasks related to policing (deviance, crime, social order, etc.) on their behalf (public’s) and only on trust. This donation of policing power by the public therefore defines a working relationship between the two as that one of master (public) and servant (police).

We believe that by approaching policing tactics and solution provision from this perspective will change the uneven and one-sided relationship between the police and the public diametrically towards people-responsiveness; as well as advance a cooperative philosophy of community policing to turn the tables on police brutality and focus placed police efficacy instead.

It is with the foregoing in mind that we at the NPS directorate of corporate communication are stepping out to play our pivotal ‘inform, educate and learn’ role in bridging disparate sides to this unfortunate conversation of police malpractice.

The service will share outwardly all necessary information of public interest on a ‘need-to-know’ basis, work with the public to reduce misunderstanding and ultimate mistrusts, and promote healthy interactions between police and the public.

Left destitute

It cannot be belaboured that the public and police can’t do without each other, yet this can only be achieved in an environment of complementation, cooperation and collaboration and based on mutual trust. Without trust, the police mission shall be lost altogether, and the public shall be left destitute.

The incidences of police malpractice that have come to the fore are not, and will not be the norm. The service led by the IGP and the rank and file of the police is determined to hold to account the bad apples exceeding their donated authority.

While at it, however, the service will continue to salute the majority of the hardworking men and women in uniform striving to police the blue-thin-line of law and order and endeavouring to make communities safer. Theirs is a noble calling, and their reward shall be greater in in the fullness of time.

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