Police have been linked to several cases of extrajudicial killings, torture and forceful disappearances as perpetrated by them. However this might be a gone story, following the establishment of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa).
Ipoa is set to upgrade the police operations and handling of complaints by the public against the law enforcers.
Over a long period of past time, police officers have been linked to the murder of innocent individuals and torture incidents, these cases have been let off the hook due to lack of clear laid down rules and unclear complaints mechanism by the aggrieved parties to facilitate evidence for prosecution.
The authority will help the police service and the public to effectively address the many complaints regarding police conduct, thereby producing the best police organisation Kenyans have always aspired. The public, through this legislation, they will have an opportunity to seek compensation where they have been wronged.
Recently, an 8 year old boy has been a victim of police harassment in Kibera. The boy, whose parents are suspected to be local brew producers, was beaten and handcuffed by the police, who demanded to know where his mother was. The boy was detained for a couple of hours without any prove, which is totally against the childrens’ right. The mother however denied being in brew business.
There must be a strong mechanism for holding the police accountable as a way of ensuring, come next election, there won’t be a repeat as of the previous post election violence, besides it should be free, fair and peaceful .This is according to Waki Commission, Philip Alston (the UN Rapporteur General on extrajudicial executions) and the Ransley Taskforce
Initially, the public did not have an avenue to channel their complaints against the police force. But that is now possible following the ascending to the Ipoa Act by the President. People only used to forward their grievances against members of the police service at different police headquarters but the process of getting justice was purely frustrating as it was very slow some delaying tactics revolved around the cases,furthermore it was not transparent.
If one feels offended by the police action or conduct, they can now report the matter to the Ipoa. The authority would come up with their findings and what they recommend. The National Police Service Commission (NPSC) would then deal with the disciplinary cases, besides; Ipoa will have their offices in the 47 counties where people will report their cases.
With this law in place, it will enable the police also deal with the errant officers within the unit, in transparent and satisfactory manner, leading to increased public confidence and trust in the service and for the public.
The function of the authority is to investigate complaints related to disciplinary or criminal offenses committed by any member of the police service, receive and investigate policing operations affecting public, besides there will be monitoring, review and audit investigation and action taken by the internal affairs unit in response to public community’s complaints.
Once Ipoa is established, it will facilitate the investigations and give direction in complaints raised by affected individuals