Ipoa lauds police conduct, efficacy during elections
The National Police Service (NPS) was better organised and prepared for the management of polling security, a new report has revealed.
A report by Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) Ad Hoc Committee shows police largely executed their mandate professionally and utilised specialised officers from Kenya Prisons Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Youth Service and Kenya Forest Service.
“All police officers were provided with transport during the elections and were trained and briefed by their commanders prior to deployment,” the report.
It, however, reveals all 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 election-related operational orders to foster accountability. Also, some officers in charge of security at polling stations did not display their names and service numbers as required by law and further refused to provide contacts,” the report states.
Ipoa has at the same time revealed that it has taken up seven complaints—including shooting, attempted rape and assault—during the period between August 7 and 12, which they forwarded to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations for action.
Ipoa chair Ann Makori said they had prioritised investigative resources for timely conclusion of the cases, and where culpability is found recommendations for criminal or disciplinary action will be made to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
To ensure the monitoring was effective, Ipoa deployed 250 monitors across 46 counties.
Officers conducted the monitoring exercise between August 7 and 12 with a further exercise planned in case of unforeseen political developments in the country.
Monitors attended the security officers briefing largely conducted on August 8 to ensure full understanding of public order and civilian oversight.
In effort to determine the policing quality level, Ipoa made a comparative analysis of the conduct of police officers during the 2017 and 2022 elections respectively.
“Authority was of 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 NPS were better conducted and officers adequately trained.
Under the Election Security Arrangement Programme, police officers across the ranks were extensively trained on public order management and de-escalation techniques. This was partly in implementation of the authority’s recommendations after the 2017 elections and also after the 2022 party primaries.
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 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,” report reads.
“NPS made efforts to improve its relationship with members of the public through social media campaigns and media updates on incidents as they happened,” Ipoa further notes.
Among the cases Ipoa recommended for investigation by DCI include the assault of Goricha Abarabo and six others by police officers at Garsen High School constituency tallying centre in Garsen township, Tana River county on August 11.
Also under investigations is the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mohamed Ahmed Qanyare and Abdikeyr Mohamed Mohamud, respectively, on August 11 by officers inside the tallying centre of Eldas constituency in Wajir.
In Tiaty in Baringo, Ipoa has also commenced investigations into the alleged assault of a youth, who was among his peers celebrating the victory of a Member of County Assembly from Kolowa ward at Chemolingot High School. The incident happened on August 10 but the petitioner has since withdrawn the complaint.
In Eldoret town, another investigation has been launched to establish circumstances surrounding the shooting of Amon Kibet allegedly by an officer, which occurred on the night of August 8 at 9pm.