Report reveals how cops cover colleagues involved in crime

Monday, November 11th, 2019 06:37 |

Police officers are aware of almost all cases of colleagues’ involvement in criminal and corrupt activities but rarely report them for fear of intimidation or victimisation, according to a survey by the Strategic Africa.

As a result, little is known about the conduct of and crimes committed by the officers, it says, adding that the reported cases are just but a tip of the iceberg.

The survey, conducted between January and April on behalf of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority reveals that some of the officers would not report because those involved are friends and colleagues, it adds.

Threats of being transferred to “hardship” areas and the feeling the reporting may lead to their colleagues’ dismissal or interdiction have also led to the poor reporting.

Cases witnessed by colleagues include unwarranted shooting, bribery, falsification of evidence, threats of imprisonment, injuries through the use of a weapon, assaulting a suspect, using excessive force and being offered bribes by the public.

The survey, however, further shows the willingness to report has significantly increased from 88 to 92 per cent in six years.

Cases in which officers have reported threats and intimidation, include where their colleagues have reportedly been involved in embezzlement of funds,  mismanagement at the National Police Airwing, corruption at the Directorate of Personnel at the Vigilance House, as well as cases under investigations .

 “Such misconduct damages the occupational integrity of the service and the overall authority and legitimacy of the service,” said a senior officer based at the police headquarters. Some claimed no action would be taken while others believe it is the duty of somebody else to report such.

The endline study covered 36 out of the 47 counties — sampled to represent the entire country both for the public household survey and case files reviews.

The counties were selected to ensure that the old provinces—Nairobi, Coast, Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley, Central, Eastern and North Eastern -and the Ipoa’s presence (regional offices) were adequately covered. It involved 5,961 respondents and 450 police officers.

The increase was significant for both sexes—for instance, at baseline 78 per cent of male and 71 per cent of female police officers indicated that they would report, and this increased to 93 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively, in 2019.

Factors said to be affecting police performance include low pay, morale and limited incentives.

Notably, the survey says, there is an increase in the percentage of officers concerned with housing (6.9 per cent in 2013 to 57.3 per cent in 2019), lack of resources to fight crime (23.9 per cent in 2013 to 39.8 per cent in 2019), corruption (3 per cent in 2013 to 18.7 per cent in 2019), lack of ICT infrastructure and linkages (1.6 per cent in 2013 to 14.9 per cent in 2019) among other issues.

It further revealed that the police service is affected by a myriad of issues including, but not limited to poor remuneration, negative public perception, unprofessionalism, poor quality recruits and poor working conditions characterized by high stress levels with no psychosocial support services.

The study also shows there has been improvement in the proportion of officers expressing confidence in the service abilities in crime detection, 63.3 percent in 2013 to 75.3 percent in 2019.

Confidence in prevention of crime improved from 63.3 percent in 2013 to 79.6 percent in 2019 and intelligence gathering improved from 49.1percent in 2013 to 71.8 percent in 2019 by the Kenya Police since 2013.

Over 70 per cent of the surveyed police officers reported being confident with the manner in which crime detection, prevention and intelligence gathering were conducted.

The police headquarters has in the recent past launched an operation to deal with rogue officers.

“Such cases undermine public trust and strike a direct blow to the service and the essence of what it means to be a law enforcement officer: protect and serve,” said a senior officer. 

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