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Fear as offences involving police officers rise sharply


The number of offences involving police officers more than doubled last year, pointing to indiscipline in the service and a more vibrant reporting and investigations mechanism.

A total of 174 offences involving uniformed officers were recorded in 2018, the Economic Survey 2019 shows -- a 102.32 per cent jump from the previous year when 86 cases were reported.

In 2016 there were 57 cases involving police officers which was an improvement from the previous year’s 71.

A number officers have recently been charged in court and jailed for diverse offences including murder and robbery.

For instance, a Nairobi-based officer, Titus Ngamau Musila alias Katitu was convicted of murder in April 2018 and handed a 15-year jail term for unlawfully gunning down Kenneth Kimani Mwangi on April 14, 2013, at the Githurai 45 bus stage, accusing him of being a thug.

In a separate case, two police officers were among nine suspects arrested in connection with a robbery with violence at a private residence in Olenguruone, Nakuru, in September 2018. The officers were attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations(DCI) in Molo and the Kamara Divisional headquarters.

The increasing number of offences involving officers may point to growing indiscipline within the force and a more robust reporting of crime through the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).

For a long time, crime involving police officers were hardly reported for fear of reprisal. Many officers acted as if they had been law unto themselves. Pressure by activists and more comprehensive investigations by the DCI and other agencies however meant most of are today brought to book.

In its 2012-2018 End Term- Board Report, IPOA notes that a survey they conducted in 2013 found that 30 percent of the respondents had experienced police malpractice.

“Thirty percent of respondents had experienced police malpractice including assault or brutality, falsification of evidence, bribery, and threat of imprisonment within 12 months prior to the study,” IPOA says.

The IPOA report notes that crimes involving the police is higher in rural areas than in urban setups. According to their survey, 61 percent of Kenyans in rural areas are likely to be victims of police crimes compared to 31 percent in urban areas.

The Economic Survey 2019 reveals that in general, 2018 recorded an increase in crime with stealing (12,845 cases), dangerous drugs (8,021 cases) and offences against morality (7,233 cases) being the highest.

Break-ins and criminal damages recorded 5,970 and 4,783 cases respectively.

“Total number of crimes reported increased by 13.2 per cent to 88,268 in 2018. The number of crimes reported to the police involving dangerous drugs increased by 44.1 per cent and accounted for 9.1 per cent of all crimes reported,” the report says.

The recent crackdowns on corrupt officials seems to be yielding results as they give the public confidence to report. In 2018, reported corruption cases increased from just 75 in 2017 to 119.

“Corruption cases reported increased by 58.7 per cent while cases of break-ins reported to police decreased by 2.6 per cent to 5,970 in 2018,” the Economic Survey 2019 says. While other areas such as Wajir recorded an increase in crimes reported to police at 56.2 percent in 2018, others such as Mandera saw a decrease.

“During the review period, Mandera police command station recorded a 24.4 per cent decrease in the number of crimes reported from 446 in 2017 to 337 in 2018 while Turkana police command station registered a decline of 10.4 per cent in the number of crimes reported to the police,” says the survey.

Other places that saw a sharp increase in reported crimes include Kilifi (49.2 percent), Bomet (40.6 percent) and Isiolo (39.4 percent).

The IPOA report reveals that at the start of 2013, about 34.3 percent of the public had confidence in IPOA’s ability to effectively hold the police compared to 62.5 percent of police. 12.7 percent of the public had no confidence at all.