The police officers who were assigned to maintain law and order during the just concluded party nominations deserve to be commended for conducting themselves in a very professional way. Unlike before when many cases of police brutality would be reported during such exercise, this time round the complaints are not about police but rather among the party members.
This is a clear indication that as we prepare for the general elections in August, cases of police misconduct will be few and hopefully there will be none. In many places where the nominations took place, members of the public could be seen interacting freely with the police.
However, it’s discouraging from the report released by the Inspector General of Police indicating that close to 2000 police officers are mentally unfit to serve in the police service. For the safety of the citizens during elections, these officers should be taken for medication and not assigned any duty because their health issues can trigger them to do brutal acts when at work.
On the other hand, I am sure the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) established through an Act of Parliament to provide civilian oversight over the work of the police in Kenya has contributed a lot towards fostering police accountability and professionalism and needs to be applauded too. Since when it was formed, IPOA has been working closely and monitoring the operations of the police hence helping the police in realizing the police reforms that every Kenyan would want to see.
The success of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority can be measured by the way police professionalism has improved over the years in our country. I think as the Authority provides civilian oversight over the work of the police, its progress too can’t be measured by how many police officers have been convicted but how also the public trust towards the police has improved.
Ipoa’s history is inspiring, it was established following the work of the 2008 commission of inquiry into Post –Election violence that led to many Kenyans losing life and property. As we enter into the election period, IPOA will be a very critical player in ensuring that Kenyans practice their democratic right without police brutality and ensuring that police act within the law in maintaining law and order. In case there will be cases of police unprofessionalism, IPOA should guarantee justice for victims of alleged crimes by police.