An inspection of police stations in the country has revealed a marked improvement, bringing a sense of relief to people who may find themselves being “guests of the State.”
The inspection exercise involved visits to selected police premises across the country by Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) officials between July and December last year, culminating into the IPOA Performance Report July to December 2022.
During the period, a total of 37 new and 55 follow-up inspections were conducted; results showed that the status under all the inspection parameters except for records on complaints against police officers had improved.
Provision of water, wheelchair access and first aid box had markedly improved, it was observed.
Other areas where improvement was noted include safety and security of stations, sentry alertness at main gates, and report desks.
Stations were also better secured with perimeter fences, fire equipment with prominent directional signage also posted.
The report also declares that maning and provision of front desk services also improved.
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) Act mandates the Authority, under Section 6 (e) to conduct inspections of police premises including detention facilities under the control of the National Police Service to ensure adherence to human rights standards in policing.
In the period under review, availability of the female cells in police stations improved by five (5) percent to reach 69 percent while male cells availability improved by 1 percent to reach 77 percent. There was also an improvement in the existence of juvenile cells from 12 to 13 percent.
While toilets were cleaner and hygienic conditions in the cells improved by 13 percent to attain 83 percent, adequacy of lighting and ventilation in the cells also improved
Contrary to previous situations where inmates did not receive sufficient food, most stations now provide three hot meals a day including clean drinking water.
The provision of female detainees with sanitary towels, according to IPOA’s performance review, increased by 2 percent.
Other parameters that saw an improvement include; allocation of resources such as vehicles, stationery, computers, photocopiers, communication gadgets, protection gear, office space and community policing.
However, the provision of adequate police uniforms in the period under review declined with officers reporting that they had been issued with just one pair of the new uniform.
Several other recommendations were made to address the issues of concern and inform police operations in subsequent elections.
Key among these recommendations include the National Police Service (NPS) making it mandatory for all deployed officers to display their name tags and service numbers prominently while on duty.
Further, IPOA recommended that all special police officers drawn from other services including the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Prisons Service and the National Youth Service (NYS) be trained jointly with the NPS on election preparedness to enhance operational synergy.