Implement IPOA proposals to improve police service

IPOA makes the case for community policing as an actionable strategy of securing communities and improving the relations between the police and the public. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) was created to fortify the dire need for police reforms and oversight mechanisms immediately after the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

IPOA's main objectives include holding the Police accountable to the public in the performance of their functions, giving effect to the provision of Article 244 of the Constitution that the police shall strive for professionalism and discipline and shall promote and practice transparency and accountability and ensuring independent oversight in the handling of complaints by the National Police Service (NPS).

IPOA makes recommendations to NPS and other State organs. In recent days, there have been far-reaching changes made to the various arms of government, including the NPS. For instance, there is a new nominee for the role of Cabinet Secretary for Interior, there is a new Director to the Directorate of Criminal investigations and the NPS awaits the conclusion of procedures for the appointment of a substantive Inspector General of Police.

As is the case with government transition, such changes are common and usually expected to streamline operations and service delivery by the incoming government. In view of the ongoing changes, it is imperative that the president and the incoming Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration consider the several recommendations made by IPOA with regard to Article 244 of the Constitution on matters of professionalism and service delivery by the NPS.

IPOA has made such recommendations since its inception in the year 2012. These recommendations have been the result of various activities by the authority, ranging from investigations, inspections, complaints processing and more so, research that generates evidence-based policy positions.

The recommendations made by IPOA are aimed at professionalising the service and majorly fall under five categories of; personnel, infrastructure and equipment, the welfare of the police, community policing and professionalism. Under personnel, the IPOA makes recommendations regarding the human resources at the NPS in terms of quality training, fair and merit-based recruitment and promotions, fair and procedural deployments and transfers, among other things.

The IPOA goes further to vouch for enhanced professionalism by the members of the service through recommendations on reasonable use of force, accountability by commanders in the NPS, the establishment of gender desks in police stations and adherence in arresting offenders and according to them the right treatment in line with Article 49 of the constitution.

IPOA makes the case for community policing as an actionable strategy of securing communities and improving the relations between the police and the public. There is the emphasis laid on establishing community policing committees in at least all wards or jurisdictions under an OCS. Further, such units are to be run in line with Sections 96-100 of the NPS Act.

Mr. Mugiira is a Research and Policy Expert. [email protected]