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Police Reforms Forum Kakamega County

Ms. Carol Martin from IMLU gave a brief synopsis of the National Police Reforms Working Group stating that “The NPRWG is a group that brings together 10 organizations working on police reforms in Kenya. These include Centre for Minority Rights (CEMIRIDE), The Legal Resources Foundation (LRF), The International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Kenya, COVAW, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNCHR), The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kenya Chapter, Rights Promotion and Protection Centre (RPP) and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU). The main objective of the reform working group is to deepen citizens’ understanding on police reform issues at both the national and county level. Things have changed with the introduction of devolved governments and there is therefore a need to equip citizens with the necessary knowledge on police reforms. This is especially important for the upcoming police vetting initiative which shall require a lot of public participation. It must be understood that we are not using the vetting exercise as a tool to victimize the police. I can confidently say that we do not want to air their dirty linen in public but are instead focusing on ensuring that they undertake their mandates in appreciation of their role in society. A country without the police would be unruly thus as we acknowledge that we need the police we should also ensure that we maintain the required standards within the institution. PWG has four pillars these include: a) Quality Service. The police are expected to protect lives and property as enshrined in Chapter 4 of the constitution. How do we ensure that they achieve this mandate while observing the rule of law? b) Accountability. This is an area of focus for the NPRWG to ensure that citizens hold the police service accountable for its actions. c) Participation geared towards enabling citizens to participate in police reforms and ensure that those who interact with the reforms groups act as ambassadors in enhancing sensitization on police reform issues. d) Police welfare. Human rights practitioners have been accused of disparaging the police even in the face of gross abuses against members of the service. It must be noted that police persons are still citizens of the country and we should also stand by them and defend them. The group is therefore working on advocating for better working hours, improvement of their living conditions, entrenchment of reasonable working hours and especially to ensure that they are compensated for the long working hours. It is it our belief that some progress can be made if weal adhere to these four broad objectives.”

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