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Cost of body cameras to be worn by Sakaja’s kanjos

The increasing cases of harassment of traders by Nairobi County Inspectorate officers will soon be forgotten if Governor Johnson Sakaja’s move sees the light of day.

According to the governor, his administration will come up with a policy that will ensure that every inspectorate officer, known as kanjo, wears a body-worn camera while on duty.

Speaking during the State of the County address, the governor said the body cameras would curb harassment and attacks on officers by some traders.

“We are introducing a policy that our inspectorate officers will wear body cameras… I’m asking our MCAs to support us when it comes to the house,” Sakaja said.

The county has more than 1,500 city inspectorate officers who are deployed in various departments, meaning that each of them will be wearing a body camera if the policy goes through.

While the move has been welcomed, the question of implementation and the purchase of such expensive cameras remains.

A single quality body-worn camera costs between Sh20,000 and Sh50,000.

body camera
A HIKVISION body camera and its price. PHOTO| POOL

If all 1500 kanjos have to be kitted with the body camera, that would cost the county a range of Sh30m to Sh75m.

There are also hardware and software costs, including servers to store data, as the camera streams real-time video and audio to the management platform via a built-in 4G and Wi-Fi module.

The purchase of such cameras has not been budgeted for in the current financial year.

The move could mean that the governor has not been able to control the harsh treatment of kanjos to hawkers, which was also the case in the previous administration.

On the issue of his officers being filmed while carrying out their duties, the governor said that no one would be arrested, which is a departure from his previous directives.

“Obstructing government officials in the discharge of their duties is an offence punishable by law and will be dealt with severely. The people of Nairobi have affirmed that they want an orderly city. Order will be maintained,” said Sakaja.

He added that those willing to record the officers in the course of their duties should do so, ruling out his earlier instructions that those recording them should be arrested.

“To set the record straight and to be clear, there is no problem with recording officers in the discharge of their duties, if anything it increases accountability, but what will not be accepted is obstructing or inciting wananchi against them in the discharge of their duties. Order will be established and maintained.”

However, the move to introduce body cameras will provide a tool to promote transparency and accountability of the officers’ interactions with the public.

These devices, worn by officers, will record real-time footage of encounters, providing an unbiased record of events.

This footage serves as valuable evidence in investigations, court cases and training exercises, aiding in the pursuit of justice and professional development.

By capturing interactions from the officer’s perspective, body cameras promote compliance with departmental policies and legal standards.

Officers are aware that their actions are being recorded, leading to improved behaviour and de-escalation of conflicts.

This not only increases public confidence but also protects officers from false accusations of misconduct.

In addition, body camera footage can be thoroughly reviewed and analysed to identify areas for improvement in training and professional development.

It also assists in the speedy resolution of complaints and lawsuits, potentially reducing litigation costs for the county.