‘Criminal cops on their own, we won’t protect them’ – Owino

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Police spokesperson Charles Owino. IMAGE/COURTESY

On the first day of the curfew, there was a serious incident in Likoni where some of the officers who were erratic ended up beating people.

This was very unfortunate. Police have a clear mandate to protect life and property.

That is why some of us are talking and comfortable while the police officers are outside doing their work.

Police came up with a strategic plan for 2004 to 2008. We wanted a civilian oversight authority –  the Independent Policing Oversight Authority – so [it wouldn’t happen that] many times we investigated cases people said are investigating ourselves.

For example the case of Ramadhan Juma from Kakamega, which is pending in court. The people said it was the police but Ipoa found he was killed by guards. Ipoa withdrew. We have quite a number of [such] cases.

I don’t know why someone fears for his life if he has been beaten by police. We have no duty to protect any police officer who breaks the law or misbehaves.

We are a family of around 120,000 officers in this country. They don’t come from nowhere, they are our brothers and sisters.

We are working closely with oversight authorities to remind the police that when you break the law you can lose your job and end up in jail.

We must be very careful when highlighting some of these issues. If we are not careful, we might end up setting the public against the police. And there is no other institution that can protect people apart from the police.

There is no cause for alarm. There is no need to fear. Officers who think they can commit offences should know there is nowhere to hide.

Where a person who has been shot, Kenyans believe the person who shot him was a police officer because they carry guns.

Our duty is to protect every Kenyan, every individual. It’s not only the police who carry guns. Criminals and civilians also carry guns. After robberies escalated, we (police) were allowed to carry guns.

We have to be responsible when we are reporting the issues. The case of Yassin Hussein Moyo [killed in Nairobi] happened when a policeman shot in the air to disperse a group of people sitting together.

Even with pilots, where we pick the best brains, errors are committed. We still have human error. Even in training, the officer can just be unfortunate. He can point the gun wrongly and kill the wrong person.

That is why the file has been prepared and the DPP has said this person should be charged in the court of law.

Some of these police officers are very young, they can easily get drunk with the little power they have and do very wrong things.

You see, the President is the President for everyone, including the police, and he understood what happened. He understood what the police did and he also understood what his voters did – they destroyed people’s cars and provoked the police.

The war we are fighting is against Covid-19. However, we now have discipline.

Police spokesperson Charles Owino on NTV June 2