Session: CSOS Roles in Collaboration and Cooperation in law Enforcement

Allow us to appreciate this convening which we believe is part of the continuum towards more honest, productive and structured partnerships that have emerged in the recent past in this sector.

Before we make our substantive comments, allow us to reframe the session to read “policing” instead of ‘law enforcement’ for the business before us is beyond law enforcement. The reason being that the way you frame this discussion informs the approach you take. While law enforcement narrows this down to uninformed institutional agency, policing embraces prevention and public and other stakeholder participation.

Law enforcement can be a very effective way to maintain public order and punish crime inasmuch as it is focused on requiring the members of a community or society to comply with the law or face the consequences. The problem of law enforcement alone as a response to crime is that it is singular in its approach, responding to effects without consideration for causes. The problem of law enforcement alone as a response to crime is that it is singular in its approach, responding to effects without consideration for causes.

The term policing has come to mean an approach to crime fighting through community service and problem-solving. The idea of policing requires a holistic approach to community service, taking into account the problems that plague a community and working with the people within that community to solve them. Policing requires cooperation from residents, business owners, and leaders who participate in the process of reducing crime and improving quality of life. While this idea of community policing may sound revolutionary, it actually dates back to the earliest days of the modern police force.

The latter is what Article 244 (e) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010; Section 41-44 and 96-100 of the National Police Service Act (amended 2015)

Having dealt with that we reiterate our appreciation partnership and multi-stakeholder approach taken by the Ministry of Interior since April 2018. This has approach has begun to bear fruits. The development of the National Policing Multi-Stakeholders Consultative Committee Reforms Matrix is among the initial concrete results of this partnership, as is the launch of the policy document on policing housing and coordination on September 13th 2018.

We also appreciate the new approach by the Inspector General and his top leadership including the county tours to create awareness and champion the envisaged reforms.

We recognize the timely appointment of the new board members of the IPOA and would like to congratulate them for the privilege and honor they have been given to serve in such a sensitive, challenging office, yet one with so much promise for Kenyans.

We will not hesitate to caution the new board members of the following:

  1. The high expectations Kenyans have of this second generation board-a board who have found a functioning organization; not hindered by the rigors of establishing one, their only duty is to ensure that the function of police accountability is taken to the next level; they must deliver results so impactful
  2. The temptations of public office especially personal aggrandizement and personal glory. The temptation to make themselves full time and how this may affect the relationship with the secretariat and cost to the tax payer. The temptation to seek top of the range comfort and VIP protection!

We call upon the new board to deepen the partnerships so far established with civil society and other intermediaries for victims. For instance we look forward to the appointment of the civil society liaison board member and the signing of MOUs with victim intermediary institutions.

We also look forward the board enhancing feedback mechanism with victim intermediary institutions which is currently either absent or non-functional.

One of the key concerns that continues to erode civil society confidence in this renewed partnership is the issue of police killings. Since April 2018 when this new approach commenced, we have recorded xxxxxxxxxx cases of police killings. In most of these cases the information in our possession indicate that ere was no justifiable reason to use lethal force.  A few examples suffice:

  1. Evans Odhiambo- A Grogon-based mechanic who lived in Mathare North
  2. Caleb Espino in Mombasa (Changamwe Police Station)
  3. David Kariuki in Dandora and his 2 cousins
  4. A 17-year old John Njuguna in Mathare North, among others

Two worrying issues about these killings are:

  1. The new development where our members have become targets for intimidation and threats on phone and social media for demanding a cessation and accountability for these killings
  2. The threat on professionals carrying out medico-legal documentation on instructions from families of the deceased.
  3. The often expressed view within the security sector that they have no choice than to execute suspects of crime
  4. The fact that despite families, civil society and community members raising complaints about specific officers suspected of involvement in these killings these officers are still in situ in the police station jurisdictions where these killings are happening;
  5. The low rates of compliance to the mandatory reporting to IPOA
  6. The failure by IPOA to hold to account over the last 5 years, police officers and their superiors who fail to report every case of injury and death resulting from the use of force.

As we continue to engage in this multi-stakeholder approach, it is our opinion as a Working Group that the issue of accountability is the deal breaker! If this is not handled, all other pillars of police reform including enhancing public trust and community policing will remain a mirage.

Lastly we reiterate the need for the National Policing Multi-Stakeholders Consultative Committee to resume operations in a structured and purposively manner in support of the reforms already agreed in the Matrix agreed in September 2018.

We welcome a candid conversation regarding these matters


Police Reforms Working Group-Kenya

November 23rd, 2018