PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT

Kirinyaga cops counselled following shootings

Some officers have been turning guns on their colleagues.

In Summary

• The area police boss says the exercise was healthy as it would help the officers offer their services with utmost professionalism and in the right frame of mind.

• This came barely a week after a police officer at the station was fatally shot at the Mwea GK staff quarters by a prison warder following a quarrel over a female prison officer.

Signboard of Kianyaga police station.
Signboard of Kianyaga police station.
Image: WANGECHI WANG’ONDU

Police officers at Kianyaga police station in Gichugu, Kirinyaga, have been counselled in the wake of shootings of or by colleagues.

Officer in charge of the police division Antony Mbogo said the service came in handy as some of the officers have lately been undergoing a tough period, a situation he said prompts some to fall victim to crime-related activities.

This came barely a week after a police officer at the station was fatally shot at the Mwea GK staff quarters by a prison warder following a quarrel over a female prison officer.

Police officer Bonface Mithamo is said to have picked a quarrel with prison officer Kering Kipkosgei after he found him dining in the house of Sergeant Esther Mwangisaid to be Mithamo's ex-wife.

Early last November, another police officer from Kirinyaga West shot dead his colleague after a quarrel as they guarded a coffee factory. The case is pending at the High Court in Kerugoya.

 “I felt the need to have the counsellors come and offer them guidance because of the misfortunes that have befallen some of their colleagues. Lately, I have lost two of my officers to death, one which happened last week and another involving a policewoman last month,” Mbogo said.

He said the session was healthy as it would help the officers to offer their services with utmost professionalism and in the right frame of mind.

He noted the officers have often suffered trauma due to the Covid-19 outbreak and more so when the virus struck the police station in August last year.

“Police officers are also human beings who just like any other person are subjected to challenges. Therefore, this activity helps to restore responsibility and instil discipline in them. The public has bestowed on them the task to offer security and that they should carry out within the laid-out ethics.”

He also praised the improved working relationship between the officers and residents, whom he thanked for maintaining order during the Christmas festivities by registering zero crimes unlike previous years when there were incidents of murder, rape and other crimes.

Macharia Munyingi, an AP officer in Kirinyaga county who is a trained and certified counsellor, said the officers underwent a series of sessions that seek to establish solutions to their problems.

“Having worked under very difficult conditions in the last couple of months, police officers in this station are very vulnerable, a situation that might have contributed to behavioral change and as such required to be guided.”

Munyingi urged all officers to learn to speak up and seek help when faced with challenges as opposed to bottling up bitterness that could explode and result in untold suffering. He said the Police department is concerned about the officers' mental well-being.

“Whenever an officer is reported to have committed murder or crimes of high degree, we as trained counsellors, don’t rush in judging that person, instead we seek to dig for the underlying factors that led the suspect to commit such crime and soon after, we are in a position to help.”

Gerald Ngari, a senior sergeant in Kerugoya who is a counsellor, regretted that the pressure that comes with police jobs often drives some officers to indulge in alcoholism and bad habits. He said counselling is the only way to break cycle of bad habits.

He also urged his fellow counsellors to readily help officers in need of psychological support through sensitisation programmes.