A senior police officer has accused his superiors of frustrating police reforms.
Stephen Toroitich Chelimo who is the Deputy Commissioner of Police and Director of Inspection at Vigilance House put his bosses on the spot when he revealed that none of his recommendations to improve the service in a period of four years has been implemented.
He blamed the top police leadership of constantly blocking police reforms by failing to enforce internally developed recommendations.
“We make very strong recommendations to our superiors but implementation is lacking…implementation is the responsibility of the Inspector General of Police. In any event there are no resources… these recommendations will not be useful,” he told the vetting panel.
It also emerged Chelimo was controversially left out from a committee formed to carry out assessment on best possible staffing method of the 506 police stations countrywide despite the crucial contribution his department is charged with.
“Certainly I am not involved and I don’t know why I was left out,” he lamented.
In the last quarter, the Inspection department visited a total of 170 police stations majority of which have outdated equipment and lack of exhibit stores which risk losing fragile and crucial evidential materials.
The vetting panel was also stunned to hear that a security initiative by Interior Cabinet secretary Joseph ole Lenku had died a natural death due to lack of financial backing.
The plan revolved around a 100-day rapid result initiative to combat insecurity.
Joseph Ashimala who serves at the Kenya Police Training College was asked to shed light on the exact security strategy he adopted when he served as the Rift Valley Provincial Police Officer (PPO) after the post election violence.
“I mobilised my officers to stop the violence which they did,” he recounted.
The Deputy Commandant of the General Service Unit (GSU) Boniface Maingi was put to task to explain why the unit always acts ruthlessly while attending to matters of security.
He said the unit only acts as per the law while ardently terming the claims as a mere perception, a point which was supported by one of the panellist, Joseph Kaguthi.
“I have some areas in the country where wananchi cannot sleep without our presence, we have done well and we are going to build the image of the unit further,” he said.
Kaguthi who now heads the community policing programme dubbed Nyumba Kumi said he used the unit to bring order in the society when he served as a Provincial Commissioner.
Even after the panel insisted to know whether the unit’s approach to security issues can be public friendly, he stood his ground that their training allows them to act so but in line with the law.
“What measures are you putting in place to change this behaviour within the unit,” one of the panellist asked.
Kaguthi asked the Deputy Commandant not to be apologetic saying the service is known for its excellence while dealing with crime.
“You are the people who are called when things become nasty…I used to use this unit to calm a situation, they really helped and I think the perception should remain,” Kaguthi affirmed.
The National Police Service Commission Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi however went ahead to give an example in his home village where if officers from the General Service Unit are spotted, the resident just take off.
“If GSU are cited everybody runs away,” he pointed out.
Maingi however maintained that majority of Kenyans were happy with their work.
Also vetted was the Deputy Commandant, Administration Police Fred Mwei, who explained his role as head of reforms in the sector.
He said that he has passionately pursued changing officers’ attitude in the unit and as well as inculcating professionalism in dealing with cases of crime and cattle rustling.
“We have provided an opportunity to officers to enhance their skills through training programmes, that make an officer more confident while interacting with any person or any environment,” he said.
He said the Administration Police was also working with public universities in this initiative.
The exercise continues on Thursday with Gideon Kimilu, Mwangi Wanjohi, Marcus Juma, Silas Mc’Opiyo Philip Tuimur, and Rodgers Mbithi being vetted.