Untrained traffic police officers ordered back to general duties

Only trained traffic personnel will be allowed to carry out the duties following a new directive by police headquarters.

Deputy Inspector General of Kenya Police Douglas Kanja on Tuesday, December 19 issued the order.

He said there would be no more attachment of police officers to traffic duties with no prior training on the issue. “You are directed to deploy back to general duties all those officers who had been attached to traffic duties,” he said in a memo to all regional commanders dated December 19.

General duties officers have been supplementing those in traffic operations in various parts of the country.

This was due to a shortage of trained traffic personnel in the department.

This prompted the training of more personnel in traffic management.

Traffic personnel are usually trained in the management of traffic issues before they are deployed to the department.

This is seen as part of efforts to address graft issues affecting the department.

A task force on police reforms has recommended the restructuring of the current Traffic Police Unit into a new Traffic Management Unit that is well-trained, leaner in numbers, and mainly reliant on technology to control and manage traffic flow in the country.

“The taskforce envisages the use of technology in the detection of traffic infractions, and the attendant fines becoming cashless by use of technology.”

“While that is being done, the taskforce recommends appropriate amendment of Section 65 of the NPS Act within six months and the abolition of police roadblocks and their replacement with mobile patrol units,” the team says.

As part of efforts to address the graft menace, police officers carrying out traffic duties were ordered not to carry firearms to their workstations.

In an internal memo dated November 30, Kanja’s deputy Miriam Muli said that effective November 30, officers actively discharging traffic duties will no longer carry firearms.

She cited misuse of firearms by the traffic officers.

Kanja directed commanders to ensure the directive was adhered to.

“It has been noted with great concern that officers actively engaged on Traffic duties are armed (carrying firearms). This has resulted in misuse of the firearms by the officers.

“From today, 30th November 2023, no officer actively on Traffic duties will carry a firearm. Commanders ensure that this directive is complied with promptly. Confirm copied and compliance,” reads the memo.

Other officers, however, said that the directive was not new, and it is only being enforced.

The directive came after the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission CEO Twalib Mbarak called for the disarming of traffic officers.

He said the move by the police authorities shows there is cooperation between the institutions in the fight against graft.

“This is a good move and we welcome it. Let us all support this war on corruption whether big or small,” he said.

Mbarak said the issue of major highways having armed traffic cops is meant to scare integrity and anti-corruption officers from fulfilling their operations.

Source: The Star

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