A majority of sex predators in Siaya County go unpunished because evidence is lost long before the cases are reported to the police.
In some cases, relatives are unwilling to take legal action against the offenders.
The worrying trend was revealed at a meeting called by a coalition of female police officers in the county on at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Gardens in Bondo Town, Saturday.
The meeting sought to find solutions to the worrying trend.
Siaya Police Commander Francis Kooli revealed that most of the cases prosecuted in court were dismissed for lack of evidence.
“Cases are lost because the victims do not know how to preserve evidence and in other cases, they were not reported in good time,” Mr Kooli said.
County Commissioner Michael ole Tialal revealed that relatives were often compromised by sex predators and many complaints ended up being resolved in breach of the law.
“Many people have been encouraging kangaroo courts with the aim of escaping punishment as stipulated in the law. If we continue like this, we are doomed because children, who are mostly the target of the predators, are our future,” he added.
Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) chairperson Anne Makori advised the law enforcement officers to be proactive in fighting sexual offences by moving closer to the communities they serve, rather than waiting to act after a complaint is reported.
“The NPS Act mandates police commanders in consultation with stakeholders to establish community policing committees in their areas of jurisdiction. Therefore, this meeting between officers in Siaya and the residents of this area to discuss security matters gives me satisfaction that we are headed in the right direction,” she said.
The county registered 1,126 cases related of gender violence – including 22 cases of defilement - between June last year and June 2019.
While asking for public participation in security matters, Mrs Makori cautioned that IPOA (the civilian body that oversees the work of the police) would take action against officers who fail to properly address sexual offences reported to them.
“To reiterate the seriousness of these offences, IPOA grades them among the most serious complaints we receive, and they are viewed in the same way as murder. It is my hope that police will respond in equal measure,” she said.
Mrs Makori added: “It pains my heart when complaints are brought to my office, about police officers who fail to take legal action against the perpetrators and also complaints of police inaction or the offences not being responded to with the expected energy.”
She cautioned: “Remember, IPOA was formed to ensure the police strive for the highest possible standards of professionalism and the public expect nothing short of that.”
The meeting also discussed other forms of crime taking root in the area including kidnapping, as well as other societal challenges like teen pregnancies caused by sexual crimes.