A woman walks past police officers at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on July 7, 2014. A Bill being drafted for approval by the Senate seeks to establish a special police unit for Nairobi to deal with terrorism and other forms of crime.
The city of Nairobi could soon be served by a special police unit to deal with terrorism and other forms of crime, if a Bill being drafted for approval by the Senate becomes law.
The Bill, to be tabled by Senate Majority Leader Prof Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka-Nithi, TNA), would see Kenya join other countries that have a special force that focuses on ensuring their main cities are free of criminals in order to win investor confidence.
“Security is a sensitive issue, hence the need to start off with Nairobi before thinking of rolling out the initiative to other major towns countrywide,” he said.
Prof Kindiki said the Bill is a culmination of the recent unanimous passage of a motion urging the national government to transform the Nairobi City Inspectorate Department into a modern metropolitan security agency to be under the watch of the Inspector General of Police.
The senator said the inspectorate department is not well facilitated to fight serious crimes though it enjoys policing functions, enforces traffic rules and has its own court to try suspected offenders whom they arrest.
“The city inspectorate department is moribund with no sophisticated manpower to deal with insecurity.
It’s a civilian outfit that is not useful hence the need to modernise and upscale it to support what the police service does,” said Mr Kindiki.
The Senator said Parliament is constitutionally empowered to establish through legislation other police services outside the existing ones in order to ensure the safety of Kenyans and their properties.
“Though provision of security was a national government’s function, the constitution allows for establishment of police formations to supplement the roles of the National Police Service,” said Mr Kindiki.
He said the country will never have enough police officers to match its need for security, hence the need for the integrated arrangement to tackle crime.
Prof Kindiki observed that since Nairobi is the economic and political hub of the country, unchecked cases of insecurity risked driving away investors and eventually slowing down economic growth.
COMPLEMENTING POLICE WORK
“Nairobi is the gateway to the country’s various towns besides being a commercial hub that significantly contributes to the country’s overall revenue.
“This agency would complement the work of the police and other law enforcers to tackle crime and eventually create confidence to both Kenyans living in the city and foreign investors,” he added.
Senate Majority Chief Whip Beatrice Elachi (nominated, APK) asked county governments to be actively involved in fighting crime as opposed to only looking up to the national government to provide adequate security.
Saying security was a collective responsibility, she challenged the County Assembly of Nairobi to enact appropriate laws that support the formation of the special security agency.
Senator Elachi said that the police unit, once successful in Nairobi, can be replicated in other major towns to improve the country’s current security situation that she said was a threat to development.
KENYA'S IMAGE AFFECTED
“The new security personnel would play a critical role in dealing with the runway insecurity within these cities, which adversely affects Kenya’s image internationally and hampers investment,” she said.
Kitui Senator David Musila (Wiper) said the National Police Service was overwhelmed and called for an intensified approach in the detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes.
“This is our main challenge. The Metropolitan police will make this easy and reduce crime. As a criminal gets sophisticated, the police must equally be sophisticated” he said.
Senator Zipporah Kittony (nominated, Kanu) said such a force would require special training to enable its members to operate above board.
“The current police are known for crimes. The special unit once formed should be friendly and stick to their core duty of maintaining law and order,” she said