The fight against crime got a boost early this week when the National Police Service launched the Digitization of Occurrence Book, aimed at reporting crime real time.
The new system in recording incidents will ease the collection of data that will be accessed instantly for the formulation of effective strategies to rapidly respond to incidents and crime patterns.
This move, seen as a landmark within the service, comes at a time when Social Distancing is the new normal, and will have the ability to protect the police who are essential service providers during this COVID 19 global pandemic.
The new system will see police officers wire the entries spontaneously to the Officer Commanding Stations (OCS), without the officers having to come into contact with the complainants.
The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Hillary Mutyambai lauded the Ministry of ICT for operationalizing the digitization of Occurrence Book, saying that it will revolutionize how business is conducted, especially during this time.
With the new system, Mutyambai said that workload will also be greatly reduced among his officers, while at the same time creating efficient service delivery as well as effectiveness on how crime reports are handled and ultimately execution of justice.
According to IG, they are in the process of training their officers on how to operate the system which does not need so much expertise and can be done even through a smart phone.
In an exclusive interview with KNA at his office in Jogoo House on Friday, Mutyambai revealed that with the help of the Ministry of ICT, he has laboured in the project to ensure that it is secured, free from hackers who can go through and manipulate the crime recorded.
“This system has different layers of security and works in a way that each Commander can access only information recorded in his region. It is only the IG who can access all platforms within the system. It is quite secure,’ said the IG.
He explained that Kenyan Police Service, Department of Criminal Investigation as well as Administration Police Service have limited access only to their areas of jurisdiction thereby making the system hard to infiltrate and interfere with the already booked information.
The IG assured the public of the safety of information booked saying that once it is captured by the officer on the ground and booked, it cannot be altered and only a second booking can be done if there are corrections to be made.
Mutyambai acknowledged that at the moment they are at the very basic level of operationalizing the system, with hiccups as expected but he is optimistic with time they will roll out to other regions successfully.
“We have taken police service delivery to the next level. A lot of research work has been done and I’m optimistic that we will have very few teething problems even as we plan to completely roll it out in the Country in the near future,” said the IG.
He said the web-based system has been installed in all police stations in Nairobi, where the pilot project is with officers provided with more than 10,000 tablets, calling on his officers to embrace the system and move with the times.
“I ask my officers to take this initiative with a lot of positivity because its success is dependent on them being user friendly,” he said, observing that they should take their time and interact with it.
Mutyambai said that the project took a Multi-Agency approach that incorporated the Ministry of ICT as the developers, JKUAT University being the suppliers of the tablets, and the Ministry of Interior as the implementors among other government agencies.
“This is a great milestone for the National Police Service because we are the first (police) institution to use digital Occurrence Books,” said the IG, adding that they are working very closely with the Ministry of ICT to sort out any teething problems.
Mutyambai explained that the system is Web-based, meaning data will be saved in servers and can be retrieved upon need and will also generate reports for all officers in their specific areas of jurisdiction.
The IG further called on his officers to ensure that they record information accurately so as to generate a pattern that can guide the service on the pattern of crime and the localities for speedy management.
Probed on the automation of other services in the police service such as serious crime recording as well as the arms section, Mutyambai said that the process has just began and that they need time to ensure that it works properly before they rush to automate other areas, asserting that the officers must be able to learn first, then they roll out the rest subsequently.
Mutyambai while taking his oath of office in 2019 promised to implement the National Police Service information management system, which digitizes the Occurrence book and the Case File Management System.
The Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i during the launch early this week said that with the new system, the government hopes to weed out corruption because all complaints filed by members of the public must be followed, with real-time progress tracked by the seniors.
The digital OB is part of the government policy to digitize service delivery for Kenyans.
Access to Information Act 2013 stipulates that all government documents are digitised with the latest institution to go digital being the Judiciary.
By Alice Gworo