Retrain APs to clamp down on lawlessness
The recent surge in criminal activities by the Administration Police officers is worrying. The officers are protectors of the society and should lead from the front in upholding the law.
However, reports from different parts of the country have established a disturbing pattern.
The crimes are varying from bank heists to murder. With one officer, angry at being told to foot his bill in the bar, choosing to kill the bar owner.
Many officers are either in court or in prison after being found guilty of breaching the law.
It is unimaginable what an armed lawbreaker can do to the society. Several explanations have been fronted for the malaise in the disciplined forces. From the recruitment of street boys into the service to poor training.
It has also partly been attributed to the police merger that broadened their mandate in policing.
The 2019 restructuring of the National Police Service saw about 23,900 AP officers formally join their Kenya Police Service counterparts.
More than 100 AP posts and camps were converted into police stations and posts, while some police divisions, stations and camps were closed to avoid overlapping mandates.
One of the advantages of this merger was increased physical police presence.
Ordinarily, the inevitable teething problems of this merger were the challenges attributed to disparities in the nature of training, open rivalry and disaffection between the two services.
Policy makers and decision makers need to wake up and smell the coffee. Something is not right and the earlier it is fixed the better. But to fix it, it is crucial to identify what is ailing it.
Experts are on record saying the APs’ training focuses more on combat than law, ethics, investigations, deterring crime, prosecution and human relationship skills.
This calls for a rethink of the curriculum and retraining of those in the service already.
The curriculum should be based on current realities and the duration taken should be long enough to ensure the APs come out a better more informed force.
Where sibling rivalry manifests, it is upto the Force’s leaders to address underlying issues that could contribute to the surge in crime.
The merger is water under the bridge and may not be a point of discussion, however, such decisions in the future should be well thought out and based on solid research.
The price of making far-reaching decisions on other grounds and not proper ones is grave.