This week, Mr Mohamed Amin, Director, Internal Affairs Unit (IAU), National Police Service, responds to your questions.
1. One of the key functions of the office of an ombudsman in any organisation is to enhance service delivery by addressing concerns from stakeholders. Many Kenyans must be surprised that the National Police Service has such a unit yet police's image and service delivery continue to deteriorate. Sir, has your office added any value to the service since inception? Komen Moris, Eldoret
The unit draws its mandate from Section 87 of the National Police Service Act No. 11 of 2011. The unit is an independent body within the National Police Service and its members are not subject to control, direction or command of the DIG-KPS, DIG-APS or the DCI. IAU is equally not housed in a police building but in a commercial one (KCB Towers, 16th-19th floor, Upper Hill Nairobi) and hence the public should not harbour any fear to visit our offices in order to raise their complaints or compliments.
The inception of the unit created an avenue for responding to complaints directly and conducting investigations impartially without any interference or favour. We have an anonymous reporting information system which is encrypted in a manner that our officers manning it cannot access details of anonymous callers.
The police image of a country or a State is in most cases a reflection of the social behaviour of that particular nation. Nations with high social discipline will always reflect in the image of their police officers. It is, therefore, important that as a nation, we introspect our social image. Our bad social image is reflected on how we drive on our roads, manage garbage and as simple as spitting and sneezing carelessly in public. We intend to conduct more sensitisation in all parts of the country to create awareness on the existence and functions of the unit. This will be done in collaboration with the existing county security committees, community policing committees and Nyumba Kumi programmes.
2. There are claims that senior officers don't listen to concerns and challenges juniors go through daily leading to them redirecting these frustrations and anger on innocent Kenyans while others opt to turn guns on themselves or loved ones. Sir, how true are these allegations and how effective are the mechanisms put in place to address such concerns? Komen Moris, Eldoret
This assertion is not true. The unit not only investigates complaints against the police by the public but equally addresses internal complaints raised by officers. This means that we address cases that would lead to demoralisation and frustration of officers. The Service Standing Orders also clearly stipulate how complaints by junior police officers against their seniors are addressed. Due to the need for positive mental health of police officers, the NPS rolled out counselling services to all officers to address trauma-based issues. We also have a counselling section in our unit, which counsels both complainants and perpetrators.
3. Pursuant to the provisions of Section 87 of the National Police Service Act, the IAU is bestowed with the mandate of investigating instances where police officers are found harassing and intimidating innocent people with a motive of extorting them. Can you highlight cases where the IAU has recommended disciplinary action against top-ranking officers who are found culpable of breaking the law? Dan Lpaari, Baragoi
Internal Affairs Unit conducts investigations against police officers without biasness. Anyone found culpable is handled individually irrespective of their ranks. Our 2019 performance report has details of disciplinary actions taken against officers whose conducts were found wanting during that period. This report was recently launched virtually by the Inspector General and can be accessed from our website.
4. Sir, seeing that the IAU and IPOA do more or less the same thing, at what point does two institutions converge? In case a complaint is filed with your unit and the same is taken up by IPOA, which institution between yourselves and IPOA takes precedence? Joel Kagwe, Mombasa
IAU and Ipoa complement each other. Remember that in the Strategic plan for Kenya Police 2004/2008, the police recommended for an establishment of a civilian oversight authority that would investigate complaints especially those that the public may not have been satisfied with the results especially where all complaints against police were investigated by police officers themselves. Ipoa, is therefore, a brainchild of this initiative. At the request of Ipoa, the IAU can investigate misconduct and hear complaints against police. However, where police actions results to deaths and serious injuries, investigations shall be conducted by Ipoa.
5. The IAU’s work is more internal and the result of disciplinary processes hardly get to the public. How can the public have confidence in what your unit does when these results are not made public? Beline V. Amondi, Nakuru
As per our operation manual, the unit gives feedback to all our complainants through provided contacts. Consequently, complainants are informed of the outcome of investigations once finalised. The complainant is also updated on the progress of the complaints.
6. What are you doing to address the concern and change the perception about police service? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi
The NPS is addressing community-based issues through community policing and Nyumba Kumi initiatives. The unit is also committed towards ensuring that police officers conduct themselves with utmost professionalism, discipline and integrity expected while executing their duties.
7. At Koru Police Station in Muhoroni, Kisumu County, the OCS, deputy OCS and 10 out of the 17 officers are from one tribe. Why is this so and can your unit look into this? Jameson Ochieng, Koru
It is the objective of the unit to promote good order and discipline in the service. We are investigating into your concerns and the same will be forwarded to the attention of the IG for action.
8. We all dread police cells because of the unhealthy conditions they are in. How is it that year in, year out nothing changes? Githuku Mungai, Nairobi
The government has in the past constructed many modern police stations across the country and has plans to construct and renovate most of them.
9 .The police motto of 'Utumishi kwa wote' has always stood out to show the very mantra of our police force. But in the recent past and even today, the image of the police and the motto have been muddied. It is like that a few bad elements in our police force are out there to ensure the good name of our police is spoilt. Are there plans to change this trend and clean up the service? Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi
Reforms in the National Police Service have been ongoing and this includes the vetting process by the National Police Service Commission. The promulgation of the Constitution 2010 gave birth to IPOA and the Internal Affairs Unit, which constitutes key reform institutions within the police. Reform is a gradual process and shall hence be achieved fully over a period of time.
10. On May 25, 2020, I filed a written complaint touching on misconduct by Kisii county-based DCI officers who are receiving instructions from Nairobi to harass my family members over a civil matter that is actively being adjudicated by a court of law and since then I haven't heard from your office. Can you make an undertaking to follow up on the complaint and in the process put to brakes the DCI Officers who are abusing the due process of the law by being used in settling family scores? Andrew Maranga Ratemo, Nairobi
After carefully examining the complaint, the unit referred the matter to the Regional Criminal Investigations Officer Nyanza to expedite the investigation and the same brought to the attention of the DCI. The Unit will update the complainant the outcome of the case.