August 9 polls: Police behaviour Report Card released
The police service was better organized and prepared towards management of poll security, a report by the police oversight authority has revealed.
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has said the police largely carried out their mandate professionally and that they utilized specialized police officers from Kenya Prisons Service, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), National Youth Service (NYS) and the Kenya Forestry Service (KFS).
“All police officers were provided with transport during the elections and were trained and briefed by their commanders prior to deployment,” IPOA said.
The Report of the IPOA Ad Hoc Committee on Election Preparedness however reveals that all police officers assigned polling station duties worked for more than 48 hours resulting in fatigue and were not provided with hot meals.
“Some Police Commanders were non-cooperative and did not share the election-related operational orders to foster accountability. Also, some police officers in charge of security at the polling stations did not display their names and service numbers as required by law and further refused to provide contacts,” the report states.
IPOA also said they had taken up seven complaints -including shooting, attempted rape and assault -during the period in question which they forwarded to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for investigations.
The IPOA chairperson Ann Makori said they had prioritized investigative resources for timely conclusion of the cases, and where culpability is found, recommendations for criminal or disciplinary responsibility will be made to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).
To ensure that the monitoring was effective, IPOA deployed 250 monitors across 46 counties and the officers carried out the monitoring exercise between August 7 and 12 with a further exercise planned in case of unforeseen political developments in the country.
The monitors attended the security officers’ briefing largely carried out on August 8 to ensure a full understanding of public order and civilian oversight.
In an effort to determine the policing quality level, the Authority made a comparative analysis of the conduct of police officers during the 2017 and 2022 elections respectively.
“The Authority was of a strong conviction that this comparative analysis would also indicate whether IPOA’s initiatives are contributing to professionalism in the NPS,” IPOA said.
According to IPOA, the operational planning and preparations by the NPS were better conducted and officers adequately trained.
Under the Election Security Arrangement Programme (ESAP), police officers across the ranks were extensively trained on public order management and de-escalation techniques. This was partly in implementation of IPOA’s recommendations after the 2017 elections and also after the 2022 party primaries.
The report further states that the service employed upgraded strategies on intelligence gathering and criminal gangs and developed elaborate hotspot areas which was seen as a better improvement from the 2017 cycle.
The service strengthened standby detachments, improved number of police officers manning polling and tallying centres, and also improved police officer equipment and tooling as per international standards.
“There was a well-coordinated security officer briefing and debriefing during, before and after the elections. This was not as effectively managed in the 2017 elections,” the report reads.
“The National Police Service made concerted efforts to improve its relationship with members of the public through social media campaigns and media updates on incidents as they happened,” IPOA said.
IPOA also said they had taken up seven complaints during the period in question which they forwarded to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for investigations.
Among the cases under investigations include the assault of Goricha Jarso Abarabo and six others by police officers providing security at Garsen High School Constituency Tallying Centre within Garsen Township, Tana River County on the evening of August 11.
Also under investigations is the circumstances surrounding the shooting causing grievous harm, and unlawful wounding of Mohamed Ahmed Qanyare and Abdikeyr Mohamed Mohamud respectively on August 11 by police officers inside the tallying center of Eldas Constituency in Eldas CDF Office, Wajir County.
In Tiaty, Baringo County, IPOA has also commenced investigations into the alleged assault causing serious injury of a youth who was among youths singing and cerebrating the winning of an MCA from Kolowa ward at Chemolingot High school.
The incident happened on August 10 but the complainant has however later withdrawn by the complaint.
In Eldoret town, another investigation has been launched to establish the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Amon Kibet allegedly by a suspected police officer which occurred on the night of August 8 at around 9pm within Eldoret town.
There was also a case of attempted rape reported of a special police officer which happened on August 9 while manning Wanyila Primary School Polling Centre in Webuye East Sub-County, within Bungoma County.
“The Authority also commenced investigations into police shooting at Mbalambala Tallying centre during a confrontation between the police and members of the public after the announcement of the Member of the National Assembly results of Mbalambala Ward on 11th August 2022 in Mbalambala Constituency, Garissa County. Preliminary investigations revealed that the police acted within the law and recommended the matter to be closed,” the report reads.
In Kisumu, there was a report of shooting in Arina estate where Reinhard Omondi Otieno was on August 15 shot and seriously injured by police officers after members of the public started protesting immediately the Presidential results were announced.
The IPOA recommended that the police be commended for the job well done, that the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) consider better strategies to address police welfare during elections, and that police officers be reminded to cooperate with IPOA officers as they discharge their mandate as provided for in law.
“The Authority has prioritized investigative resources for timely conclusion of all cases of police misconduct received relating to the elections. IPOA underscores that any allegations of police misconduct will be investigated expeditiously and where culpability is found recommendations for criminal or disciplinary responsibility will be made to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).