Prison officers called to boost police numbers over holidays

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020 00:00 |
Travellers at the Machakos Country Bus in Nairobi wait to board public service vehicles to upcountry for the Christmas holidays, yesterday. Photo/PD/JOHN OCHIENG

Zadock Angira and Harrison Kivisu

Additional 5,000 Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) warders have been gazetted as special police officers to help in fighting crime and enforcing traffic rules this festive season.

Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai yesterday said besides use of technology and air patrols, there will be more boots on the ground, considering the additional officers from KPS and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

“This time you will see an increased number of officers. We will be more forceful to ensure that Kenyans enjoy Christmas festivities,” Mutyambai said.

 Speaking during the same function, KPS  Commissioner-General Wycliffe Ogallo said as required by law said the IG had already gazetted the officers who resumed their new roles immediately, adding that the multi-agency approach would ensure that there was security and a decrease in the road carnage in the country.

“Our key mandate is to protect life and property and maintenance of law and order. It is for this reason that we are teaming up to execute this mandate,” Ogallo said.

Ogallo urged locals to work closely with the security agencies in sharing information.

Mutyambai however warned that despite intervention by the security agencies, including strict enforcement and the Usalama Barabarani project, road traffic crashes were still on the upward trend.

“Our efforts have been on road safety awareness with extensive education through the Usalama Barararani Programme and Road Safety Mainstreaming in the public sector targeted law enforcement and collaboration with stakeholders to improve emergency medical response services all in a bid to deal with the vice,” IG said.

He warned that other stringent measures targetting drivers will be employed to ensure compliance and directed that any passenger vehicle violating the regulations will see the entire company’s operational licence cancelled.

“Analysis of the causes of the crashes continue to point at common road traffic offences such as drinking and driving and overloading. As the festivities begin, we urge all road users to take precautions towards their own safety,” Mutyambai said.

“On its part, the government will continue with the nationwide law enforcement operations, increase highway and air patrol to ensure adherence to traffic rules,” he added.

By December 13, a total of 3,663 people had died in road traffic accidents this year, representing an increase of 9.4 percent compared to the same period, last year.

Between January and September this year, 2689 people were killed in road accidents compared to 2,655 during the same period last year, representing an increase of 1.3 per cent.

The NTSA Director-General George Njao also said his officers will work very closely with the police in the multi-agency plan.

He said the new measures had been enforced following a spike in the fatalities on the roads due to drunk-driving.

“There will be random drunk-driving checks mainly because there has been a rise in the number of fatal accidents related to drunk-driving,” the IG said.

Other causes of accidents have been identified as driver fatigue, overloading, overtaking and unroadworthy vehicles among others.

“Some drivers are engaging in dangerous overtaking, lack of proper lane discipline, freewheeling is to blame for the increasing number of deaths on our roads,” the IG said.

According to the police and the NTSA, the death of motorcyclists and passengers in road accidents have substantially increased. Between January and September this year, it had increased by 44.94 percent and 19.44 percent, respectively.

Regarding the Covid-19 and Ministry of Health regulations, the police boss said they will be enforced very strictly.

“The status of the regulations remains the same. We will be more firm and strict this time,” he warned.

In October this year, the police boss said alcohol levels will be determined in hospitals under strict Covid-19 rules.

“It is my understanding that everyone will be at his home. We have deployed more than before.

As you heard, 5,000 officers from Prisons have joined us and we also have quite a good number from NTSA,” he said.

The government also announced that it will enhance security along the Coastal strip to during the Christmas and New Year festivities. 

The move according to Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo has been prompted by the huge numbers of local and international tourists flocking the region for the festivities.

 More emphasis will be placed along the sandy beaches, government installations and highways, all the way from Lungalunga to Lamu to ensure safety of travelers.

Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu counties are recording increased guests from upcountry. “We have teams on standby in all the coastal counties to ensure we don’t take anything for granted.

We have increased surveillance at all highways, beaches and government installation to ensure safety of tourists,” said Kitiyo.

 At the same time, authorities warned that they will conduct a fresh crackdown on the possible emergence of criminal gangs across all Mombasa sub counties to ensure public safety.

This is in the wake of indicators of the resurgence of outlawed members of Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).

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