The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has called for more transparency and accountability amongst police officers if the ongoing police reforms are to succeed.
IPOA chairperson Anne Makori said the two values, together with enhanced discipline from both the public and the police were key to the achievement of basic rights and fundamental freedoms for Kenyans.
She was speaking in Siaya while on a tour of the county, during which she held a meeting with members of the national police service, led by the county police commander, Francis Kooli.
Makori said that IPOA was committed to closing the gap between the public and the police by bringing them together and making the public understand the roles of the law enforcement officers.
“We have identified in our 2019 – 2024 strategic plan some of the critical areas that need to be addressed – the police accountability and stakeholder cooperation and complementarity,” she said.
To achieve this, Makori said that the authority had organized for public forums that would bring together the law enforcement agents and the public but this was slowed down by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The chairperson said that the initial resistance that IPOA had with the law enforcers was now waning after the authority engaged the police officers and explained their mandate.
“The tour of this region is one of the efforts to expound our mandate and look for more cooperation and collaboration in our work that entails monitoring police operations,” she said.
Makori said that their mandate extends to inspection of police facilities and residential units and also carrying out investigations arising from complaints by both the public and police officers.
Siaya county police commander, Francis Kooli said police officers were happy with the ongoing reforms.
“Earlier, there were fears amongst police officers that IPOA was leaning too much on the public but their coming down to the grassroots to engage with the officers was a step in the right direction and has helped us understand them better,” said Kooli.
The police commander called on other agencies and the police officers to focus on service to the citizens.
By Philip Onyango