Tame police officers involved in crime
Recent media reports linking police officers to serious crime are not only disturbing but also downright worrying.
In one such incident last week, an instructor at the General Service Unit Training School was reported to have been hired as a hit-man by an individual who wanted some relatives eliminated.
Of course, incidents linking officers to crime are legion, including the AP officers currently facing murder charges in which a lawyer and a taxi driver were abducted and later found killed.
In another incident, again last week, a police officer was reported to have defiled a primary school pupil under circumstances that should sound alarm bells for members of the public.
Every other day, the media will carry such stories, in which officers arrest colleagues for offences ranging from abetting transportation of contraband goods, theft, violent robbery and other such serious crimes.
If the criminal is in uniform, there is nowhere the ordinary person will get help.
It is crucial that the developers and implementers of the curriculum at the three campuses of police training in Nyeri and Embakasi start to think of identifying and dealing with the missing link in the manner officers are trained.
Apart from basic drill and handling of weapons, issues such as public relations and the development of a psycho-social approach to dealing with people must be looked at afresh.
After the officers have started service, there should be a systematic and systemic endeavour to provide counselling and related services to officers, given that they are the first line of response to all manner of disasters and incidents in which gory details are an everyday affair.
Civilians know they can turn to the police for help in case of trouble, but whom do the police turn to when situations overwhelm them? This is a vital cog in enabling them deal with trauma and other scenarios they face in line of duty.
But more importantly, officers must be instructed and constantly reminded their principal duty is to maintain law and order. The use of force should be restricted to situations that warrant it. There must be civility in the manner they handle suspects or ordinary people.
But their involvement in crime is a trend that must be checked and urgent solutions found.