Police must embrace change with digital Occurrence Book
Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
On Monday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i launched an online Occurrence Book (OB) for use by the Nairobi-based officers of the National Police Service, in a move aimed at improving service delivery within Kenya’s law enforcement department.
Inauguration of the digital OB is part of the larger Digital Human Resource Information System which had been unveiled weeks earlier, encompassing administration procedures, crime reporting and crime management.
The whole purpose is to ease the numerous hurdles that citizens go through when reporting crimes at police stations.
Should the system succeed, it will ensure citizens do not have to physically report to police stations to register complaints but will instead seek officers on patrol.
Matiang’i said the initiative would fast-track collection of data on different crimes across the country, make it possible for complainants to track progress of their cases and that through the new system persons found on the wrong side of the law would have to pay fines instantly through mobile money services to ensure efficiency and curtail graft.
It is also projected that the system will help eradicate ghost workers and end the practice of officers overstaying at work stations in addition to enabling Vigilance House to have a grasp of the true security situation countrywide. It would make it easier to track crime trends while police commanders will be enabled to monitor activities within their jurisdictions.
The new developments at NPS are as good as they can be, coming hot on the heels of similar initiatives by the Judiciary and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions where cases are now filed electronically.
It is, therefore, hoped that the electronic OB programme will be rolled out to the rest of the country soon, rather than later.
So because crime reporting in Kenya is a massive and cumbersome barricade in the quest for justice.
As we applaud Matiang’i for the measures his ministry has taken in digitising the Police Service, we hasten to remind him that this initiative must be followed through so that it does not end up being merely another public relations exercise.
The service has let down Kenyans on many fronts. Let this be a story with a happy ending for the long suffering citizens.