African Press International (API)

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IPOA is not on fault finding mission, says Macharia Njeru

Posted by African Press International on June 3, 2017

By Dickens Wasonga.

The chairman of the independent policing oversight authority IPOA Macharia Njeru has asked the police to act with restraint when dealing with demonstrators in order to curb unnecessary loss of lives during such Confrontations.

Speaking in Kisumu last week when he led IPOA board to launch its offices in the town Njeru asked the police to ensure no life is lost in any demonstrations.

He said the police can use other modern techniques to handle a rioters crowd including using rubber bullets, which can still subdue those who try to be unruly during such protests, to limit loss of lives.

Kisumu has in the past witnessed deadly confrontations between the police and demonstrators which left some of the protestors dead.

"Why would you use live bullets on demonstrators. You can use other approaches that can lead to arrest of those who turn protests into ugly scenes. Even rubber bullets can be used but still you don’t have to aim at the head or chest of the would-be victims " said Njeru.

He also asked members of the public to always conduct themselves with decorum .

Njeru said there was no bad blood between IPOA and the national police service and the national police service commission adding that they have a cordial working relationship with the two.

"We are working well to serve the public. Any action we take is normally in good faith and within the law. However we can’t white wash any wrong doing. " he said.

Njeru whose organization safeguards the interest of the public said even police officers report cases to them for investigation.

"Some of the officers come to us to make reports because we’re impartial and want the members of the national police service to always act within the law. " He said.

He noted that some of the complaints against the police should be handled by the independent unit created within the police but the unit, he said, was not fully facilitated to carry out its functions .

"We refer some cases to them because not all complaints can be handled by us. Sometimes we refer cases to them but if some cases are taking too long to probe then we come in. This unit should be independent with its own offices and not housed under NPS." He added.

Njeru who was accompanied by senior commanders of the police from Kisumu and Kakamega clarified that only police officers who have been charged upon recommendations from the office of the public prosecutor are asked to step aside until their cases are heard and determined by the court.

He disclosed that IPOA will open ten offices in major towns to enable the members of the public to have more access to services offered by the Authority.

They will soon be unveiling an IT system that will enable it to generate data on which police stations have more complaints from the public and vice versa.

So far 47 cases are before courts countrywide. These are cases arising from claims of unprofessional conduct, officers not being receptive to the public amongst others.

According to IPOA chairman, 62 files are still with the office of the Director of Public Prosecution.

84 cases have been exonerated from any wrong doing from the complaints made and various appropriate recommendations done on 297 files .

He hailed the National Police Service for having conducted the just concluded police recruitment fairly.

"We are happy with the way the recruitment was done. There wasn’t much complaints from the exercise. As a country we have not done enough to take care of the welfare of the serving police officers. They should be well housed, well enumerated and treated with utmost dignity so that they can also return the favor. " said Njeru.

End

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