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Group faults police vetting process

14 January 2014, 12:10 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - Governance and human rights organizations working under the auspices of the Police Reforms Working Group-Kenya (PRWG-K) have questioned the National Police Service Commission's (NPSC) inadequate involvement of public participation in the vetting process.

The group led by Peter Kiama, the Executive Director Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), stated that the timelines the NPSC has set for the public to submit their information on police officers for vetting is grossly inadequate.

"The seven days given by the Commission for the public to submit information on 182 Senior Assistant Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners of Police can hardly be sufficient," said Kiama.

"We wish to remind the commission that the legitimacy of the vetting process will solely be determined by the levels of public participation. We recommend at least 10 working days for members of the public to collect, compile and submit information to the commission," he added.

Kiama raised the concern that to ensure information on the vetting process reaches all citizens in the 47 Counties, the NPSC should develop and share with the public a database containing more information on officers to be vetted. He said the information may include their names, years of service and stations they have served.

He also faulted the commission's dissemination of the vetting information through the daily newspapers and social media as inadequate to reach out to wider public because about 20 percent of Kenyans access the medium.

Moreover, Kiama said the NPSC should also probe into the officers' integrity and human rights, professionalism and competence during the vetting other than prioritizing financial probity entirely.

"Already, information from our networks across the country indicates that the overemphasis on finances is leading to growing apprehension," noted Kiama.

"As such, the commission runs the risk of being perceived as a financial auditor with the resultant effect of watering down the overarching goal of ascertaining suitability and competence of police officers," he added.

Kiama called on the Commission to urgently put in place measures to boost the public communication department to ensure continuous engagement with the public beyond occasional comments by the Chairperson to the media.

He further urged the public to submit to the commission information and evidence on any officer involved in gross human rights violations, implicated in corruption and corrupt dealings, and have in the course of their service contravened any provision of Chapter six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity.         

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