Nairobi, Kenya, February 2, 2017/..International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) strongly supports the oversight work of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and National Police Service Commission (NPSC). Oversight plays a critical role in ensuring the values and principles the police seek to protect are not in fact broken by them.
Law enforcement institutions are entrusted with a diverse set of tasks requiring a high degree of integrity and accountability. Where this does not function well, law enforcement officers become vulnerable to acting unlawfully and outside their remit. It is unacceptable for police officers to undermine the constitutional work of both NPSC and IPOA. It is usurping the sovereign will of the people as reflected in the Constitution.
IPOA and NPSC are required to establish comprehensive framework for police oversight and accountability in order to strengthen integrity within systems of policing, improve law enforcement internal accountability and integrity mechanisms and enforce democratic control of the law enforcement agencies stipulated under Articles 1, 238 and 239 of the Constitution. It is very worrying trend that a group of police officers, especially old senior officers, have never accepted and adapted to the constitutional order going to the extent of threatening IPOA and NPSC officials and sabotaging their work. This is grave concerns and appropriate action has to be taken against the officers.
After more than 20 years of trying ‘reformist’ measures, the police in Kenya continue to be an ineffective, unreliable, and ‘far from citizen’ institution in its different levels, structures, and mandates. The reform efforts made so far area fading. The police force is relapsing back to repressive system with weakening transparency and accountability that perpetuate the opacity in which the police operate.
ICPC notes that internal policing oversight and monitoring mechanisms exist but, in reality, are opaque and highly discretionary in their application. In many instances, there is evidence of corruption or collaboration with organized crime. Most alarmingly, the police display a disrespect regarding human rights and an ambivalence towards citizens.
IPOA and NPSC enforce accountability and transparency to ensure police not only take responsibility but also to the subordination of public servants to the citizens who have conferred authority upon them. It is deeply disturbing that resistance towards transparency and accountability persists within police with tacit support from the Interior Ministry.
The inclusion of constitutionally civilian oversight mechanisms, from the standpoint of operational, budget and institutional of the police, contributes to the constructive evaluation of results, processes, and work of the policing systems. It is evidently clear there exists ‘parallel order[s]’ that perpetuate opacity, corruption, and operational malpractices in the police
ICPC observes with concern at the policymaking level, there is absolute failure to recognize that public safety, justice, and the rule of law are interdependent elements within a larger democratic political system.
IPOA and NPSC need full resource and political support from the top level of the government to ensure they deliver their constitutional mandate effectively, efficiently and diligently as authorized by people of Kenya in the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
Executive Director, ICPC