The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has today moved to subdue fears that it goes all out to ensure police officers are sent to jail for the actions they take in the course of their duties.
On the contrary, the Authority endeavours to ensure that the National Police Service strives to achieve the highest standards of professionalism, discipline and accountability.
“IPOA was not found on the basis of finding fault on the actions of the police. This is evident when you look at the number of complaints received vis a vis the number that are taken up for investigations with the ultimate probability they will end up in criminal prosecution,” said acting Director of Investigations, Mr. Evans Okeyo.
He further noted: “Of the 21,924 complaints received, its 541 of them that have been forwarded to Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) after investigations. This shows that there is a lot of sifting that goes on, through the various processes the Authority has established before a determination is made. In fact, the bulk of the complaints received are resolved at the point of entry, to the satisfaction of the complainants and are therefore not escalated to the ODPP.”
Mr. Okeyo spoke today, Monday July 4, 2022, to journalists and human rights defenders and the Internal Affairs Unit of the police, in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.
They are participants in a training workshop aimed at preparing them to handle challenges they may face in the course of their duties during and after the General Election, barely a month away.
IPOA has since launched a Monitoring Strategy for Police Operations Before, During and After the August 22, Elections.
Complaints Resolutions is Not by “charging” alone
The participants further learnt that many other complaints received by the Authority point at systemic faults within the police and to correct the situation, it calls for Inspections and Monitoring of police premises and police operations respectively, after which findings are forwarded to the relevant authorities, with accompanying recommendations for remedy.
Inspections includes impromptu visit to stations to check on the plight of those held in cells while monitoring may involve checking on how police conduct beat patrols, Mr. Okeyo also noted.
This is in line with IPOA Act.
The functions of the Authority shall be to – “investigate any complaints related to disciplinary or criminal offences committed by any member of the Service, whether on its own motion or on receipt of a complaint, and make recommendations to the relevant authorities, including recommendations for prosecution, compensation, internal disciplinary action or any other appropriate relief, and shall make public the response received to these recommendations”Section 6(a), Independent Policing Oversight Authority Act
The week-long training draws participants from Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Nakuru, Kisumu, Migori, Kisii, Kakamega, Trans Nzoia, Kericho, and Bungoma Counties.
Mr. Okeyo also responded to concerns raised by participants, including how witnesses are protected to ensure they are not compromised with the aim of defeating justice.
He noted that IPOA also works with the Witness Protection Agency in order to uphold the safety of witnesses.
The training is spearheaded by Missing Voices, a coalition of human rights institutions including International Justice Mission and Kenya Human Rights Commission.