It seems the curriculum taught in National Police Service colleges has become too old to fit into the modern times. The number of civilians dying at the hands of the law enforcers is worrying.
This is a call for revision of the training to make the policing unit a copper-bottomed service and not a ruthless force. There has never been a reason for the police to kill or harm; their duty is to prevent that from happening and protect property.
The culture of killing suspects instead of taking them to court has no basis whatsoever, whether in religion, civilisation or traditional African culture. It’s an immoral habit that we have imposed on ourselves in a bid to enforce the policies of a few individuals (or protect them) at the expense of the majority.
The police probably kill to instil fear and show their might; yet the civilians neither threaten nor compete with them. Following the numerous shocking cases of police brutality in country, it’s only be fair to say that the police are an enemy of civil peace.
Every time there is a need for them to limit civil disorder, they opt to use of excessive force, which provokes the public, turning it into a bitter and uncontrolled confrontation. Sense obviously loses meaning and casualties become the end result.
However bad the crime a suspect has committed is, he or she has the right to be heard as it is a principle of natural justice. Subjecting anyone to brutality is wrong and unacceptable the world over. And since it’s the police who are trained to limit civil disorder and not the civilians, the former should avoid confrontation at all costs. Unarmed citizens will never win a battle against a weapon-wielding force.
The darkest side of this story is that of young people and children being killed by those entrusted with their safety. From Baby Pendo to the Kianjokoma Brothers, we now have a reason to rethink our position on how the police perceive the sanctity of human life. And that should find its way into the training manual.
The manner in which the government has handled police brutality has made the public lose faith in the service. The most serious and severest punishment meted out on rogue officers is a transfer, surely a slap on the wrist, which becomes the green light to continue their savagery.
But even amid condemnation of the police, some of the men and women in uniform are, admittedly, diligent and fair. We have seen clips of officers rejecting bribes and others assisting the vulnerable in times of need. The government should motivate such officers by promoting them and then use them to transform their rogue colleagues.
Police brutality is a pandemic that ought to be stopped before it consumes us all. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the National Police Service Commission must work with other institutions to end the vice.
Arasa Makori, Kisii