Compiled by Sarah Nyakio
The Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides for people-centred policing. Thus, the National Police Service Act 2011, under Section 41(1) provides for County Policing Authorities and down to County Policing Committees and County Forums at the lowest level. These shall function to, inter alia, develop proposals on priorities, objectives and targets for police performance in the county, monitor trends and patterns of crime in the county and promote community policing initiatives in the county. This is in recognition of the difficult and sometimes non-existent relationship between the police and community members. The police have often been accused of committing human rights violations, sometimes at will. The NPS Act envisions that the police would actively work towards creating trust between them and the community. These July 2015-December 31st 2017 interventions were implemented on the foundation of a baseline satisfaction survey that established the best practices, gaps, challenges and recommendations of communities and the police about public safety and security.
IMLU, under Diakonia’s Democracy and Human Rights Programme, implemented a project to operationalize the County Policing Authorities in three counties. This story relates to the activities carried out in Nyeri County, which was the first and only county - at the time of the intervention - that had gone through the process of nominating the civilian members of the CPA. Unfortunately, lack of guidance on their operations limited their capacity to take up their roles and responsibilities. Thus, this project instituted key activities: training of the CPAs on their roles and responsibilities; assisting them to prepare their work plans and budgets; initiating lobbying with the county government to set aside a budget for their operations and more importantly, lobbying the county government to formalize the unit. The CPA members have continued to be committed to undertaking their roles, irrespective of the challenges.
Before IMLU, all engagements with them were very fruitful and encouraging. They participated in the process of establishing both the CPCs and the CPFs in Nyeri, and have been advocating for funding from the County Government to support the structure. Further that they witnessed the elections of all the members of the CPCs in all the stations under project implementation (Nyeri town, Karatina, Mweiga and Othaya). They visited all the stations and met all the OCSes and advocated for the establishment of these structures. They have also gone out of their way to see other stations not under the project implementation establish these structures so that the entire County can have all the structures. They have also supported sensitizing both police and the communities on community policing. Although they have not yet taken their oaths of office, the interventions by IMLU have led the CPA members to become even more committed and confident in undertaking their assignments. Thus, they will be a perfect best practice for other counties to emulate.
Means of verification of the result/change
All the OCSs from the 4 Police Stations (Karatina, Othaya, Mweiga and Nyeri Central) were present during the forums to establish the CPCs and CPFs and each OCS led the participants in their jurisdictions in the election of 15 members of the CPCs. This was possible through the intervention and guidance of the CPA members, who had benefitted from the IMLU training.
“The security in Nyeri has improved thanks to the establishment of the Community policing structures. The business has nourished and I believe once the CPA structure is operationalized, it will build the confidence of investors,” William K. Ndegwa –CPA member - Business Sector representative.