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Crime Prevention in Kenya – Making the Police More Effective and Accountable

Mr Francis Kimenia

Kenya Institute of Administration (KIA) is collaborating with the United States International University (USIU) with the support of the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) to hold a six-day seminar series on crime prevention in Kenya.

“Dealing with crime and insecurity remains a key concern for government. I believe that the deliberations of the seminar will provide a global perspective of the opportunities and challenges that public administrators and managers must grapple with in preventing crime. As a ministry, we recognize that to effectively address the problem of crime, multi-disciplinary approaches are required,” said Kenya’s Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security, Mr Francis Kimenia.

Mr Kimenia who was speaking during the launch of the seminar series on crime prevention said the country is undertaking “reforms in the security sector which are a reflection of this recognition and determination.”

He pointed out that key among the required interventions is the reform of the police service. “In 2009 the Government established the National Task Force on Police Reforms, led by retired Judge Philip Ransley to examine and make proposals on how to transform the Kenya Police into an effective, efficient and accountable service. To oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Ransley report, the government appointed the Police Reform Committee (PRIC),” he said.

The ministry articulates that among the remarkable reforms undertaken is the development and roll out of a new Police Training Curriculum which is currently being implemented by the Police Training College.

“The ongoing reforms seek to establish a strong internal accountability mechanism to enhance management of public complaints against the police and enforce fair practices in human resource management,” the PS said, “a new accountability framework is being developed which will be outside the police premises but reporting directly to the Inspector General” to enhance public access to the police in case of complaints.

He further said the implementation of the welfare reforms in the ongoing police reforms, seeks to address concerns on the low level of pay and benefits and the deplorable housing conditions under which most police officers live. “Initiatives undertaken in this area include; infrastructure development, modernization of communication equipments, crime profiling and intelligence analysis to enhance the performance of the police.”

He detailed how the Kenyan Government is paying a lot of attention to community policing as an effective strategy in the management of security in the country.

However, “successful implementation of community policing calls for aggressive training and an awareness creation campaign to mobilize the community and other key stakeholders to effectively participate in the implementation of this important policing strategy,” he said.

The country is in the process of developing a policy but has already developed guidelines and principles for the co-ordinated roll-out of the strategy. So far five bills have been prepared to align the police service with the constitutional requirements and provide a framework for the implementation of some of the recommendations of the Ransley report.

Other initiatives by the Government to prevent crime include the creation of legislation such as the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, 2010, the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, 2010 as well as the disarmament programme in cattle rustling areas to ensure illicit arms are not used, among others.

State actors and non state actors who are playing a vital role in the provision of security and safety in the country were acknowledged during the launch.

The ministry said that Vision 2030, the country’s main policy document underpinning all government planning in Kenya, recognizes that crime prevention is critical in achieving the objective of “a society free from danger and fear.”

The seminar series by KIA and USIU on crime prevention are important according to Mr Kimenia who said they “will complement the ongoing government reforms in the security sector and will contribute to better understanding of crime prevention by policy makers and policy actors.”

The Permanent Secretary called for closer working relationships and collaboration between different actors. “The Government recognizes that crime prevention requires the participation of different agencies and actors including the police, various government agencies, the private sector and citizenry,” he said, reiterating that dealing with crime and insecurity requires much more than law enforcement.

About Robert Okemwa Onsare

Robert Okemwa Onsare
Robert Onsare is pursuing Electronics Technology at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton. He is a Cluster Strategy trained facilitator by Kenya's National Economic and Social Council (NESC). Mr Onsare has been an incubation student at the University of Nairobi, School of Engineering, FabLab, a venture project of the university and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is a member of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) and a published poet. Mr Onsare is based in Kenya.

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