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CHRI calls for real commitment to police reform in Kenya; if not security and

development will not improve


Launch of Report on Progress of Policing



The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is calling on the government of Kenya and the National Police
Service to fully commit to the process of police reforms in Kenya.

In a report launched on Wednesday 30 April, A Force for Good? Improving the Police in Kenya,
Tanzania and Uganda, CHRI considers the status of policing in Kenya, moves towards reforms and makes
recommendations to continue to build on these. Not only does the report consider progress towards
reforming the police in Kenya, it also considers the progress of two of its neighbours Tanzania and
Uganda. It is hoped that Kenyas neighbours, such as Tanzania who is currently reviewing its Constitution,
can learn from the good initiatives undertaken in Kenya and likewise avoid the problems that have arisen.
Lessons go both ways - Kenya may also be able to learn from developments in Tanzania and Uganda, for
example from the development and passage of the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture Act in Uganda and
guidelines developed by the Uganda Police Force.

Since CHRIs last report on the status of policing in 2006, there have been some considerable moves
towards improving the police in Kenya through the extensive police reform process said Maja Daruwala,
Director of CHRI, speaking before the launch. However, it is very concerning that the Executive and
Parliament are considering winding back some of the most progressive elements of the reforms through
amendments to legislation. If retrograde steps and dilutions are allowed to come into force then Kenya,
which is seen as taking a lead in creating better police in East Africa, will lose this reputation for working
through difficult terrain to ensure the country has an impartial, efficient, professional and law upholding police
service.

Yash Ghai, Chair of the CHRI International Advisory Commission, reinforced this position, stating before the
launch that the police reform process in Kenya is critical to ensuring a safe and fair Kenya for everyone.
CHRIs report highlights that real security cannot be secured through strong-arm policing that we are so used
to here in Kenya rather it can only be secured through the development of trust between the community
and police through full commitment to the police reform process: establishing the accountable, transparent,
responsive and human rights compliant policing required under the Constitution. Emphasising the role of the
IG and the leadership of the police, CHRI calls for the leadership of the police to commit to working together
with oversight bodies both the National Police Service Commission and Independent Policing Oversight
Authority. It is through working with these critical oversight bodies that the police has the best chance of
reforming and improving security in Kenya, said Ghai.

These critical policing oversight bodies must also play their part. The IPOA must ensure that it is fully
carrying out its mandate, and ensuring that all deaths and serious injuries caused by police action are
investigated and recommendations made for action. Its very concerning that the police do not appear to be
complying with the laws and co-operating with the IPOA, but if that happens, the IPOA must be strong and
act in accordance with its mandate and use the full suite of its powers to both carry out comprehensive
investigations and require police cooperation said Yash Ghai. The IPOA has such an important mandate it
needs to make sure it is fully implementing it. Not only does this mean the IPOA should ensure police
cooperation and investigate those that do not, it also means that it should install systems to make sure cases
are dealt with as quickly as possible, that complainants are regularly kept informed of cases whilst they are
being investigated and that the recommendations at the end of investigations are made public so that we can
all monitor the progress and compliance of the police.



The report also highlights and recommends:

Maintaining key essence of the legislation as enacted in 2011: particularly to ensure civilian
oversight in the appointment and removal the IG which ensures greater independence and
impartiality of the police; ensure NPSC continue with vetting process; and ensuring that dangerous
and unnecessary provisions to allow police to use firearms to protect property are not reinstated in
the law.

Commitment from senior leadership of the police to cooperating with oversight bodies both the
NPSC and IPOA - through the institution of and adherence to agreed processes that are in
compliance with the constitution and law, and ensuring recommendations are implemented.

Comprehensive funding of key police oversight bodies: NPSC and IPOA, and internal oversight
body the Internal Affairs Unit.

That the police service ensures transparency in its operations: through making the Service
Standing Orders and other key documents available to the public, as well as ensuring transparency
in its operations and budget.

That the NPSC work with other bodies to address core problems in the police service that have
been highlighted in the vetting process. Some of the problems highlighted through the vetting
process include corruption, poor leadership and lack of accountability within the police service.

That the IPOA speak out in relation to critical policing incidents and let the people of Kenya know
that it is investigating these issues; that the IPOA consider establishment of a database on deaths
caused by the police to allow for independent monitoring (not reliant on police reporting).

IPOA and other human rights oversight commissions consider creating one-stop shops across the
country to allow people to access the one centre in relation to any human rights violations and to
pool resources. This builds on the collaborative referral mechanisms and understandings already
in place between oversight bodies.

Strengthening legislation and processes to improve policing and the wider criminal justice system:
strengthen witness protection; ensure legal aid becomes a reality; continue the process of ensuring
the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is independent and that civilian prosecutors are
instituted and trained on the decision to prosecute; as well as pass key legislation such as the
Coroners Service Act and a Prohibition of Torture Act.




For further information please contact:

Sarah Mount, East Africa Programme Vidya Venkat, Media Officer
sarah@humanrightsinitiative.org vidya@humanrightsinitiative.org
+254 715214696 + 91 11 4318 0203