Kenyans will soon expose criminals without fearing victimisation by the police.
The National Police Service Commission (NPSC) has launched a mobile phone application that enables members of the public to report offences ranging from hate speech to gender violence, corruption and traffic breaches.
All the whistleblowers need to do is to send a text message (SMS) or call a soon to be unveiled 999999 line.
“Many people shy away from reporting crimes because they fear that the police would treat the informer as a suspect. Reporting by SMS would mitigate this fear and would enable more crimes to be reported,” NSPC chairman Johnston Kavuludi said at the launch of the service on Wednesday.
The application developed by mobile content provider Rapid Communications Limited sends the text to police headquarters, triggering an email notification of the report to the relevant arm of government or commission,” Mr Kavuludi said.
In case of an election offence, a notification would go to the Electoral and Boundaries Commission, hate speech to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, gender based violence to the Gender and Equality Commission and corruption to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission.
The timing of the application points to an official desire to contain elections offences as March 4 General Election draws closer and campaigns officially kick-off.
Mr Kavuludi said the full implementation of the “smart policing application” would facilitate prompt relaying of crime information to the police.
Details of the mobile numbers would be kept confidential through a backroom system manned by select officers at the police headquarters.
“This is an extremely confidential service with back end reporting systems. You can confidently use the service even with smart phones,” said Rohit Mediretta, the operations officer Rapid Communications Limited.
The company gave the equipment to the police service as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility in the hope of enhancing the audit, trail and analysis of crime.
“The system will indicate in the backroom data, the nature of crime, location and time reported in real time,” Mr Rohit added.
Mr Kavuludi said compiling crime statistics will be made easier through the availability of statistics stored in the reported crime data base.
“We need to operationalise this service as soon as possible as we embark on serious security reforms,” he said.
Mr Kavuludi said the commission in line with the constitutional requirement of ensuring that the police service was “efficient and effective” was also working with security service firms to implement the new system in order to reduce the wave of crime.