Kenya: Security Agencies to Be More People-Centred, Says BBI Report

22 October 2020

Security agencies will be more accountable and "people-centred" if the Building Bridges Initiative report is adopted.

In proposals aimed at boosting their capacity to tackle crime, the report recommends the strengthening of all security bodies, including the National Police Service, the National Intelligence Service and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.

Police officers' career advancement will be determined by how effectively they control crime in their respective areas and citizen perceptions in a bid to improve professionalism.

Deployment of officers will be aligned to their talents, skills and specialisation. "The NPS to introduce a new framework for digitalised monthly returns that capture the relevant KPIs. The captured data to be used for ranking for career advancement," says the report.

It also proposes that security policies and strategies be developed after consultations with the public. "No matter what the sector or the issue, policy making shall question how its results impact the protection and preservation of life, dignity and prosperity of citizens and their families and communities," it says.

All ministries, departments and agencies have to align their policies with the National Security Strategy. The report proposes equal treatment to security concerns expressed by the poor and the rich, proposing equal prevention, investigation, and prosecutorial attention.

Every county, sub-county and ward will develop and implement the national emergency, disaster and crisis management strategy. To protect Kenyans against the threats of terrorism, the report proposes the mainstreaming of the countering of radicalisation and extremism in each ministry, department and agency.

It also recommends the formation of a trust fund to provide information and compensation to victims of crimes, especially terrorism. The operationalisation of the Victim Protection Trust Fund is in line with the Victim Protection Act. This provides for protection of victims of crime and abuse of power by giving better information, support services as well as compensation.

Rather than maintaining law and order, security agencies have over the years been blamed for use of excessive force, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and torture.

"The National Police Service, the Director of Public Prosecutions and any other relevant departments to develop remedial measures and rationalise service provision," says the report.

The Interior ministry and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission should ensure counties' boundaries are drawn to maximise sharing of water and pasture among other resources and prevent communal conflicts, which often lead to loss of lives and displacement of thousands of people.

It proposes the formation of a commission to address boundary conflicts. It further recommends the inclusion of conflict resolution, negotiation and counselling skills in the curriculum at all levels of primary and secondary education.

To cushion Kenyans from poisonous foods, a Food and Drugs Authority should be established to protect consumers from dangerously procured, grown or developed products. The National Chemist will be tasked with its implementation.

The report also proposes the strengthening of cybersecurity capabilities to match the increasing reliance on technology and monitoring of police officers. It also wants more protection for whistle-blowers.

While receiving the final report, President Uhuru Kenyatta emphasised the need to change the Constitution, outlining the benefits it will have for future generations. "We spend almost two years after every election on conflicts, and that is what we want to change by ensuring inclusivity for all communities," he said.

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