THE POLICE REFORM WORKING GROUP – KENYA
The Police Reform Working Group – Kenya (PRWG-K), started as a Civil Society police vetting working group initiated by Independent Medico-Legal Unit in November 2011 upon realization that the much anticipated police reforms were stalling and needed concerted effort to buttress. The group started as a police vetting group with an interest in ensuring a vetting process that can be trusted by the police and the public can have confidence and fully participate in it.
The PRWG-K brings together ten like-minded organizations which strive to have a reformed police service in the country. They include Centre for Minority Rights (CEMIRIDE), The Legal Resources Foundation (LRF), The International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Kenya, COVAW, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNCHR), The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kenya Chapter, Rights Promotion and Protection Centre (RPP) and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU).
The main objective of the reform working group is to deepen citizens’ understanding on police reform issues at both the National and County level. The introduction of the devolved governments comes with the responsibility to equip citizens with the necessary knowledge on police reforms. This is especially important for the upcoming police vetting initiative which shall require a lot of public participation.
- a) Quality Service.
Police officers are expected to protect lives and property as enshrined in Chapter 4 of the constitution.
- b) Accountability.
Citizens must hold the police service accountable for its actions.
- c) Public Participation
This is geared towards enabling citizens to participate in police reforms and ensure that those who interact with the reforms groups act as ambassadors in enhancing sensitization on police reform issues.
- d) Police welfare.
Advocate for better working hours for police officers, improvement of their living conditions, entrenchment of reasonable working hours and especially to ensure that they are compensated for the long working hours.
- As part of ensuring vibrant citizen participation in the ongoing police reforms process, the PRWG-K has organized County Police Reforms Forums. The forums have so far been held in Kakamega, Kisumu, Nairobi, Isiolo and Kitale and plans are underway to hold four more in Nyeri, Nakuru, Mombasa and Turkana. The objectives of the forums include;
- i)Create a dialogue forum between police and other administration of justice sector actors and citizens on the best way to support police reforms;
- ii)Enhance knowledge and understanding on the need for police reforms and the constitutional and legislative basis for police reforms; and
iii) Build social capital in support of police and wider security sector reforms.
- The group has engaged with different actors to spearhead police reforms where it commissioned representatives to monitor the interviews during the recruitment of the Inspector General, his two Deputies and the Director of Criminal Investigations. The group presented a comprehensive report to the National Police Service Commission for consideration during these recruitments.
- The group has created and handed over the proposed police vetting tools and guidelines to the National Police Service Commission, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority for use during the vetting exercise and for mobilizing the public to participate in the process.