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Meet Homa Bay county officers policing the county

From afar, enforcement officers in Homa Bay look like policemen on patrol.

Their blue uniform, complete with black boots and black cap makes them appear like police officers as they walk in the streets of major towns in the county.

One will only realise that they are civilians when they get very close to them.

Unlike regular police, enforcement officers in Homa Bay have black belts with yellow stripes.

The National Police Service has navy blue belts.

Enforcement officers in the county also have a yellow lanyard, a cord that passes above the shoulder and into the pocket of the shirt.

For Kenyan police officers, the cord is navy blue or a combination of yellow, navy blue and maroon put in knots.

Another distinctive feature between police officers and the enforcement team in Homa Bay is formation.

Police officers would walk in sets of two, four or take a set depending on instructions from their commanders.

They would also carry guns.

For the enforcement team in Homa Bay, they walk without any formation and with nothing in their hands.

One team is likely to join another group and perform the same task.

Nevertheless, an ordinary person will think they are police officers because of their blue uniform and probably run to them to seek help in case of an emergency.

This is what a group of activists in Homa Bay have observed and want the uniform to be changed.

Interface Community Help Desk Chairman Evans Oloo said he is concerned that the blue uniform is confusing, besides it can be used to commit crime.

He wants the enforcement officers to have a different colour.

According to Mr Oloo, some rogue enforcement officers can take advantage of the confusion to steal from unsuspecting members of the public.

The activist argued that the criteria of recruiting enforcement officers is questionable and some members of the team could be people who previously engaged in acts of crime.

“Some may camouflage as enforcement officers but engage in crime. The uniform will give them strength to steal from people,” Mr Oloo said.

He added that the uniform can be given out or stolen before other people use it to engage in crime.

Homa Bay County Enforcement Director Walter Muok said he has noted the confusion but cannot do anything at the moment to correct it.

He however distanced himself from any blame saying he was assigned to head the enforcement team when the uniform was already being used.

“I am not responsible for the choice of colour or design. I came to the office when the uniform was already in use,” Mr Muok said.

The director said the county government has not received any complains about the uniform.

He however said the devolved unit is ready to adjust should anyone complain about the colour.

“We are flexible and can change if we have broken any law. We will do whatever the National Police Service says in case the uniform interferes with their duty,” Mr Muok said.

The new uniform used by enforcement officers was introduced recently after one that they had previously was recalled.

The first uniform was brown and it resembled ceremonial uniforms used by police officers from the Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (Cipu).

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