4 January 2012

Kenya: Consider Foreign Head of Police


THE Kenya police are insisting that the new Police Inspector General and his or her two deputies should be police professionals.

The force has warned that a civilian may meet opposition from the police force. That is a bad argument. A security force should always follow orders.

Nevertheless the police are right. They should be headed by a professional. Policing is highly technical. Firearms, riot control, the law, forensic science, and criminal investigation, are not learned overnight. Even Gen Hussein Ali, a military man who became an effective police chief, took more than a year to settle into the job.

The concern is that the police force has become corrupted and that an outsider is needed to guide its reform. But which civilian has that absolute integrity? If the panel appointing the new police chief is convinced that no Kenyan policeman is capable, then they should go abroad to look for a veteran officer of the necessary experience and integrity.

The two Kenyan deputies can report to him or her for a contract period of, say, three years. If that is not acceptable, then the panel should bite the bullet and find the best Kenyan police person available.

Quote of the day: " "As soon as one promises not to do something, it becomes the one thing above all others that one most wishes to do." - English novelist Georgette Heyer died on January 4, 1975.

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