Police Suicides and Killings: Take Command Responsibility

The Chairperson Independent Policing Oversight Authority Mrs. Anne Makori has today called upon newly promoted police commanders to enforce recommendations aimed at reining on the high incidence of killings and suicides in the Service.

She spoke at the National Police Training College, Kiganjo Campus in Nyeri County.

Mrs. Makori said: “One officer lost is too many. Look at the pattern and it does not look good at all. One of the things that will confront you is that the officers under your command have a lot of issues both personal and official some which often overwhelm them.  Therefore, as you give commands, take note of the welfare of your officers. As bosses, you need to find out why these cases are happening.”

IPOA Chairperson Mrs. Anne Makori engaging the Police Commanders at the National Police Training
College, Kiganjo Campus in Nyeri County.

While there, she officiated two functions:  The closure of an Inspectorate course for none commissioned officers and thereafter, a lecture to special police commanders.

The lecture was on contemporary issues affecting police officers.

Her lecture dwelled on murders and suicides as the most worrying vices that bedevil the Service noting that 57 and 65 cases respectively had been recorded between 2016 and 2020, across the country.

Most of these killings occurred in Nairobi and Garissa where each recorded eight cases followed by West Pokot which has seven cases.

On suicides, Nakuru County recorded five cases followed by Nairobi and Mandera with four cases each.

Mrs. Makori further called upon the police leadership to tighten gun issuance procedures so that officers affected by mental illness are closely monitored and assigned other duties that do not necessarily require handling of firearms while at the same time, be accorded treatment.

She said: “Police commanders should apply informed judgment when issuing firearms to officers who are suspected to be suffering from mental disorders. Such officers should be assigned duties that do not necessarily require the use of firearms as they continue with counseling and other forms of therapies.”

IPOA has also identified other issues that have contributed to killings and suicides including stress, sexual harassment as well as irregular transfers and deployments.

Once deployed, Mrs. Makori noted, the newly promoted officers should fast-track the roll-out of the NPS Psychological Counselling Policy (2018), administer psychological tests, train officers on trauma resilience, and ensure training and appointment of counselors.

The fresh commanders were also challenged to rein on police involvement in crime, with the Chairperson noting that the vice too, has been on the rise over years.

In 2016, there were 57 cases of police involvement in crime, the number rose to 86 in 2017 and a further 174 cases were recorded in 2018.

Other vices noted by the Authority include cover-up of offenses especially by senior officers eager to unscrupulously protect their juniors.

Mrs. Makori thus warned the new commanders: “Superior Officers engaging in a deliberate cover up of criminal conduct by their juniors will be charged together with them as principal offenders for aiding and abetting the commission of the offense pursuant to Section 20 of the Penal Code or in appropriate cases as joint offenders under Section 21 Penal Code.”

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