Written by Sarah Nyakio
IMLU interventions under the Diakonia Democracy and human rights program aims at improving access to justice through effective key institutions within the justice sector that respects human rights and the rule of law. Specifically, the work is geared towards a people-centered National Police Service (NPS) both at the national and county levels. The community policing interventions are implemented in four counties namely, Nakuru, Isiolo, Kisumu, and Nyeri.
The support has contributed to the establishment and operationalization of 13 Community policing Committees (CPCs) which have become instrumental in response to community security and safety needs. In Nyeri County, 5 active community policing committees exists in Othaya, Mweiga, Mukwerei-ni, Karatina, and Narumoru and there are various documented benefits and successes because of this support.
The CPC ensures meaningful citizen participation in policing matters; helps bridge the gap between police officers and the community members, and helps establish more use of preventive mechanisms rather than reactive tactics in the reduction of crime.
In Narumoru Police station, a well-coordinated CPC was established in 2018 through program initiatives and saw recruitment and capacity building of well-trusted individuals with representation from different sections of the community. The program continues to offer ongoing support to this CPC.
This community (Narumoru) like any other community is reliant upon the police to curb disorder and help in times of emergency. The police, on the other hand, rely on the community to report crimes and provide vital information that is necessary for them to solve crimes and address community concerns. As a result of the CPC initiatives, the relationship has developed as the police and the communities they serve have come to expect more from one another as each increasingly recognizes the importance of working together as partners.
The CPC has emphasized a proactive, problem-solving approach where the police work in close partnership with the communities they serve. The station had no holding cells for minors and psychologically unstable person in conflict with the law; no stand-alone GBV unit, no trained officers to man the GBV desk, drug use and abuse was high, and the presence of kangaroo courts was a challenge in enabling the general public to report a crime, cattle rustling and petty theft were among the security challenges. Some notable progress includes among others; the CPC managed to secure funds through the CDF and renovating the old model station into a modern station with facilities that are not easily found in most the Kenyan Police stations. The station has holding cells for males, females, children, and psychologically unstable persons in conflict with the law, females, and males.
The station has continuously held community dialogues that have borne fruit with the target population and through this, there is a noted reduction in GBV cases. The cases are reported, perpetrators arrested, and witnesses are encouraged to attend court cases to ensure that the rate of arrests and convictions are on the same level. The rate of sexual offenses especially defilement has decreased due to the functional relationship between the community and the police officers at the station.