11 February 2014

Kenya: Police Sabotaging Probes Against Them - IPOA

Photo: Capital FM
Some police officers have been accused of tampering with evidence following the vetting process (file photo).

Nairobi — The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) says some officers under its investigation have refused to cooperate and are even tampering with crucial evidence.

IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru on Tuesday revealed that they had concluded investigations on 27 cases and warned that they would recommend the prosecution of those sabotaging the authority's work.

"There is a consistent pattern arising from our dealing with police; where there is substitution of evidence and tampering of evidence and sometime ignoring of summons," he pointed out.

"Some of these cases we will be recommending to the Director of Public Prosecutions for prosecutions because when you ignore summons or tamper with evidence it becomes a criminal offence."

"It is very important to send a clear message to the police that we are here and doing business and it is important for the rule of law that summons and evidence that is supposed to be conserved be preserved so that we can deal with cases of impunity and ensure that we indeed hold the police accountable," he affirmed.

Njeru was speaking when he received forensic equipment from American Ambassador Robert Godec at the IPOA headquarters.

With the equipment, Njeru said the authority's investigation capacity will be enhanced.

Complaints filed to IPOA have escalated but the chairman attributes this to increased public awareness of its functions.

He said the authority will continue carrying out its mandate "to conduct impartial and independent investigations, inspections, audits and monitoring of the National Police Service to prevent impunity and enhance professionalism and in the interest of the public."

To enhance its capacity, IPOA has 20 investigators and the number is expected to increase by end of this month.

In a bid to receive and process complaints from the public and police, the authority has also established a Complaints and Legal Department, currently with 13 staff including a Deputy Director and a Head of Complaints.

This year alone, IPOA has received 140 complaints and 1,090 cases since its inception. In these cases, "430 complaints were referred to other relevant statutory bodies while 109 were earmarked for investigations."

"With the expansion of the Investigations Department and the establishment of the Complaints and Legal Services Department and the establishment of the Complaints and Legal Services Department, the authority has doubled its efforts to review all complaints in its database," he said.

Among equipment donated by the United States are two Gunshot Residue Evidence Collection kits, Suspect Sexual Assault Evidence Collection kits and Post-mortem DNA Blood Stain Card Collection kits.

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