The Independent Policing Oversight Authority has published a report that exposes the situation of physical amenities at police stations in Kenya.
One of the many documents it has produced over the years, and launched in April 2022, is dubbed Thematic Inspection Report on Police Infrastructure and Detainee Welfare: A Case for a National Government – Police Infrastructure Development Fund.
This report casts a spotlight on offices, holding cells, gender offices, child protection units, exhibit stores, visitors’ lounges, armouries, records stores, interrogation rooms and residential houses among other structures that are to be found in an ordinary police station.
While it seeks to establish existence of these vital installations in all the police stations inspected, in the first place, whether they meet the set standards warranting a modern police service was a key ingredient of the fact-finding criteria that informed the report.
Key considerations included whether stations are habitable for both detainees and police officers deployed there, prioritisation for underage and vulnerable “guests of State,” hygiene conditions, protection from harm, provision of food and water among others.
As the title of the report suggests the Authority is pushing for establishment of a Standing Fund from the exchequer to be used for putting up standard and better infrastructure at police stations and where they are already in place, upgrade and maintain them.
The inspections from which findings were made and thus informed recommendations were carried out between November 2020 and February 2021.
In total, eighty-one police premises were inspected.
If left unchecked, the gaps were highlighted in the report threaten to weigh down what has been achieved so far in police reforms in Kenya.
For prosperity, the report proposes that the fund assumes the model of the Constituency Development Fund, with a vote head under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government and to be administered by a Board under the Treasury “for effective controls and accountability.”
This report found out that out of the 81 police stations;
- Only nine had title deeds, thus the rest are exposed to land grabbing.
- Only 32 had records on the year they were constructed.
- Only 23 had customer care offices.
- 13 and 41 did not have offices for station commanders and their deputies respectively
- 26 lacked anti-crime branch offices
- 60 lacked offices for handling traffic offences21 lacked armouries and in those where they existed, 9 and 4 were in “awful,” and “rundown” states respectively
- 67 lacked offices for officers in charge of residential areas, popular referred to as police lines.
- 56 lacked gender offices
- 77 lacked child protection units
- 44 lacked proper record offices
- 76 lacked proper records and interview rooms 27
- 27 did not have stores for preserving exhibits
- 65 lacked spaces to serve as visitors’ lounges
- 35 lacked proper drainage systems
In-depth findings and recommendations are available for scrutiny and downloading….
The inspections carried out in police stations across the country was spearheaded by the Board.
Before each inspection, IPOA Commissioners held meetings with police commanders – to strengthen the already established working relationship of cooperation and collaboration to ensure all Government agencies work in harmony, for the benefit of all Kenyans.
Thereafter, meetings were also held with the non-commissioned officers in the rank and file who were duly informed on what the Inspectors would be looking for.