INITIATIVE IS NOT DEAD

State revives community policing to fight crime

It is still alive but it is operating at low levels, when it works well, crime goes down

In Summary

• Initiative started by President Kibaki was meant to improve public sharing of information with the police

• Some communities don't believe in sharing information with law enforcement

Loresho commandant Patrick Oduma speaks to the press
REVIVAL: Loresho commandant Patrick Oduma speaks to the press
Image: GEORGE MUGO

The moribund community policing programme to fight crime is not dead after all but it's not exactly alive either.

National Police Service Senior Staff College (Loresho Campus) commandant Patrick Oduma on Saturday said the initiative is still operational.

"Some people believe that community policing is dead. It is still alive but it is operating at low levels. Where it is working, it has been embraced and the fruits have been felt," he said.

Oduma said the initiative started by President Mwai Kibaki was meant to improve public sharing of information with the police.

However, the officer said the concept faced problems as some communities beliefs' bar people from sharing information with the police.

"Community policing has also faced political, social, economic and legal hitches," he said.

He spoke at Lari police station, where he led a delegation of 25 county commanders to benchmark how to introduce the concept in their areas.

He was with Kiambu county commander Andiel Nyange, Lari subcounty commander Ellen Wanjiku, Lari OCS Waigwa Machomba and community policing chairman Peter Kiugu.

Oduma praised the Lari subcounty community for sharing information, saying this has reduced crime.

At times, Kiugu said, Lari police station cells are empty, no one has been arrested. "But when people accepted it in the villages and started participating, the number of people involved in petty crimes reduced," he said.

Kiugu said the numerous cases of housebreaking, theft and car-jackings that used to be reported were controlled. In the past buses were hijacked and diverted to Kijabe and Kinale forests. 

"People would call to ask what a Western or a Nyanza bound bus was doing on rough roads. Many attempted robberies were aborted when police responded quickly. People shared information whenever there's a distress call at night," Kiugu said.

He said still face problems of mobility since police vehicles are always in use.

"At times police are needed urgently to do or rescue someone or a handle situation, but you are told the vehicle is at the court. It is on another assignment and you are forced to use a taxi or a boda boda," Kiugu said.

Kericho county commander James Mugera said if the initiative is applied, crime will come down.