October 22nd 2017

Top Stories / National

Denying police killed 122, CS Nkaissery gives no figures but turns his guns at media

“Our attention has been drawn to reports serialized in a local daily newspaper concerning alleged unlawful killings by the police. Our concern is the lack of objectivity, obvious bias and palpable misrepresentation of facts in reportage on the matter.”

By Phillip MuleeTuesday, 04 Oct 2016 16:05 EAT

Cabinet Secretary for Interior Joseph Nkaissery has castigated the recent expose by the Sunday Nation indicating that more than 122 Kenyans have been killed by the police over the first eight months of 2016, representing a seven per cent increase over the same period last year.

“Our attention has been drawn to reports serialized in a local daily newspaper concerning alleged unlawful killings by the police. Our concern is the lack of objectivity, obvious bias and palpable misrepresentation of facts in reportage on the matter,” he told a media briefing at his Harambee House Office in Nairobi early today.

While the minister could not tell how many Kenyans have died at the hands of the police, he admitted that the police service may harbor "a few rogue elements" against whom disciplinary action was being taken. But he reserved his severest criticism for the media for reporting the killings.

Saying that the police were confronted with criminals on a daily basis, the minister said, "It beats logic therefore what the writers would have wanted the police to do in situations where dangerous armed criminals confront them.”

The CS asked Kenyans not to judge the entire police force by the actions of the “few rogue elements.” He did not deny that some police officers had been involved in criminal activity and the illegal use of firearms, but he maintained that the situation was not as bad as it was being represented.

He was reacting to Nation's findings contained in Deadly Force, the database on death from police encounters. It was compiled from media and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) reports as well as reference records from human rights organisations.

The report said the number of killings by police is on track to surpass the 2015 count of more than 140 deaths, data from the special project, built by Nation Newsplex suggests. Nkaissery dismissed the reports saying they were meant to incite the public against the police.

Recent reports by human rights lobbies have however condemned “unwarranted” killings by police and even linked the disappearances of some Kenyans to police activity. Nkaissery defended the police noting that the officers often encounter armed criminals and some officers have been killed and others grievously harmed in the line of duty.

The law clearly stipulates cases where officers are justified in using firearms to defend themselves and the public, he said. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority has received some 5,784 complaints about police officers, 4,454 of which were dismissed as “baseless”. The CS said that only two per cent of all reported cases have resulted in the prosecution of the officers involved.

“These persistent media reports, obviously aimed to taint the image of the National Police Service, the writers even concede that the persons alleged to have been killed by the police have criminal records, and more often than not armed with dangerous weapons. It beats logic therefore what the writers would have wanted the police to do in situations where dangerous armed criminals confront them”, he said.

The government, he said has put in place a mechanism for facilitating better coordination between the National Police Service, the National Service Commission (NPSC) and the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to ensure that all criminals or indiscipline cases involving the police are dealt with accordingly.

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