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We won’t shield you, Matiang’i, Mutyambai tell errant cops

Police officers who violate the rights of civilians will take individual responsibility, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has said.

The CS said that the officers will be subjected to the law. His warning comes at a time when members of the public have raised concerns over increased police brutality across the country.

The CS said this after he met a group of more than 20 civil society organisations and non-state actors at the Kenya School of Government in Kabete.

A handful of uncultured police officers

Dr Matiang’i condemned the conduct of what he called a handful of uncultured police officers and asked members of the public not to judge the entire service.

“We have challenges in our law enforcement, and we must all rise and start dealing with them collectively instead of creating a stigma around the police. We invite our colleagues from civil society organisations to join us in improving the civil-police relations. Help the public appreciate the sacrifices made by our officers,” he said.

The CS added that officers bear the burden of maintaining national security, which is never easy and they have to sacrifice a lot. Still, they are under-appreciated for their work.

At times, he said, even police officers are roughed up by members of the public and even killed, and no one talks about it.

He also slammed unsubstantiated claims about the misconduct of law enforcement officers.

“We won’t run away from taking responsibility, but we will continue investigating the reports submitted by all our stakeholders and ultimately go the direction facts will take us,” he said.

Referencing the recent claims about the use of excessive force on unarmed civilians, the CS stated that police violence remains a global challenge. He added that all cases lodged against errant officers will be taken to their logical conclusions to ensure justice is served to the victims.

Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said the Service, through the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU), continues to discipline officers found violating law enforcement policies even before forwarding them for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) has been working on 171 files on claims on police violence, and 81 cases are currently in court.

Twenty-three of them resulted in death. DPP Noordin Haji divulged that he had formed a specialised unit to expedite the prosecution of cases related to police excesses.

The Sixth Schedule of The National Police Service Act outlines when officers are allowed to use force, which must be proportional to the objective to be achieved, the seriousness of the offence, and the resistance of the person against whom it is used.