Good move on raids by Kenya Police Force
Changing the Kenya Police Force into a service was meant to inspire a radical shift in attitude among the officers in the course of their duties.
This is because Kenyans have consistently agitated for a professional, competent, well-trained and paid police service.
But picture this, a bunch of fellows driving in rickety private vehicles, wearing butchery garb raiding an establishment.
The first instinct will be to flee or fight back. But it turns out these are officers on routine patrol.
After a near fisticuff, they demand money or they whisk away those arrested to the police station. This is a common scene in many city estates and other big towns.
Police conduct, especially during the pandemic times continues to raise fundamental questions touching on extortion and brutality that has led to the loss of innocent lives, ineptitude and a highly disturbing degree of impunity.
That is why our attention has been drawn to the ban on the use of unmarked vehicles by police officers on patrol in Nairobi.
Officers have also been directed not to make arbitrary arrests and raid bars while in civilian attire.
The officers were further directed not to conduct any police duties and other operations outside their areas of jurisdiction.
We must say the ban was long overdue. Police officers have exploited the Covid-19 measures on curfew and social gatherings to make a killing through extortion.\
Some business owners have had to close shop because of police extortion. It is no secret that police officers use the vehicles for extortion, brutality and in some cases extrajudicial killings.
This callous exploitation of a pandemic to make a fortune, should prick the conscience of the police top command.
Indeed, some recent abductions of individuals has been blamed on armed criminals posing as police officers in unmarked cars.
The commanders have never explained why they use private vehicles on national security matters but Kenyans who have fallen victim to the “new normal” policing have tales to tell.
Top commanders rationalise and incentivise deployment of private cars because they are complicit in the lucrative trade of primitive accumulation of ill-gotten money.
Disciplinary action must be taken against senior officers involved to tame this impunity.
There must be accountability from individuals who are paid by taxpayers’ money.
The ban should also not be on paper. The police command must make sure it is done.