Chiefs and their Assistants in Kirinyaga have been instructed to educate the public on the role the Nyumba Kumi is supposed to play.
The area County Commissioner Mr Jim Njoka said the administrators are in a better position to educate the public on how they are supposed to work as the Nyumba Kumi initiative.
He said he has gathered during public meetings that many of the committees were assuming the role of the police, conducting investigations, even to the point of carrying out patrols at night.
‘It is very dangerous and it should not be allowed for the public to carry out patrols without the police,” he said.
Njoka while speaking in Kerugoya said the fact that members of the Nyumba Kumi were asking to be supported is indicative that they were yet to understand their role in the initiative.
“Nyumba Kumi provides a framework that anchors Community Policing at the household as the basic level, “he said
The concept Njoka said is aimed at bringing the community together in pursuit of a common ideal of a safe, sustainable and prosperous neighbourhood.
He said the government cannot arm Nyumba Kumi volunteers since their mandate are clearly spelled out.
“Your role within a given community is to gather anything unusual and report to the area Assistant Chief or the Chief who have a structured means of having such information relayed to the relevant authorities for action,” Njoka said
He said the key role of Nyumba Kumi is to work with the security personnel by giving them information about where they live and nothing else.
“I hear some are even taking the role of punishing suspected criminals and were creating fear among the communities they live in, this should not happen at all,” he said
“You must be free with the members of the public to be able to gather the information from them,” Njoka said
Njoka said there is a need for more collaboration between the public and the police to bring down the rate of crime in the county
“We can start by ensuring all the boda boda operators are registered and given a particular number which should be visible in their reflective jackets,” he said
That will make it easy for the operators to identify strangers who come from outside to commit a crime with the blame heaped on the local operators.
“It would also make the work of the police very easy in identifying those who do not belong to the area,” Njoka said.
By Irungu Mwangi