Pay and dress them well – Raila addresses mental concern among police officers
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has asked the national government to ensure the welfare of police officers is well taken care of to avoid cases of police brutality and killings among officers associated with mental health illness and depression.
During an interview with journalists from a section of the Kenyan media on Friday, August 27, Raila said that police are supposed to protect Kenyans from harm instead of harming them further associating the oppressive attitude of the Kenyan police to that of colonial home guards and police.
"If you go to London and ask a police officer for directions, he will guide you and ensure that you get the instructions. Here in Kenya, the first thing a police officer will ask is whether you are lost before asking for your ID, And if you don't have it on you, you will be arrested," Raila said.
The ODM leader further asked the national government to pay, house and dress police officers well in order to give them a conducive working environment and reduce cases of bribery, police brutality and killings among and by the men and women in uniform.
"Our police officers are supposed to be public servants but unfortunately we have not had proper police reforms, and this is from the top down. Some of them don't see anything wrong with what happened in Kianjokoma," Raila said.
The statement by Raila comes after the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) chairman Eliud Kinuthia told National Assembly’s Committee on Administration and National Security that the commission has set up a medical board that is carrying out assessments on all officers.
“The commission has established a special medical board to conduct the degree of mental illnesses affecting members of the National Police Service.
"This will inform cases that need referral for specialised treatment and any other interventions,” Kinuthia told MPs on Thursday, August 26.
According to the commission, the Ministry of Health has since seconded five medical doctors to the board.
“The medical board has so far assessed officers in Nairobi. The assessment for the rest of the officers across the country is ongoing,” the commission’s vice-chairperson Alice Olwande said.
The board already assessed officers serving in Nairobi between May 25 and June 9 and will be moving to Nakuru and Eldoret next week.
From Nakuru, the team will head to Kisumu for the Nyanza region and later to Western. The entire exercise is expected to end in November.
Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said the outcome of the ongoing assessment will be crucial in addressing mental illness within the service.
Rising cases of mental illness among the police service has seen a number of police officers kill their colleagues and citizens before turning the guns on themselves.