What you need to know:
- In two separate meetings with female officers from the Kenya Prisons and the National Police Service, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’í listened to their ordeal at the hands of rogue seniors.
A senior police officer in Nairobi will soon be dismissed from service for allegedly sexually molesting his junior female colleagues over a prolonged period, Nation has learnt.
The officer whose identity has been concealed will be the first casualty of new stringent measures targeting abusive male officers following an outcry by their female counterparts.
In two separate meetings with female officers from the Kenya Prisons and the National Police Service, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’í listened to their ordeal at the hands of rogue seniors.
The situation, they said, is worsened by a lack of a formal regime of handling sexual harassment and the cover up that sees rogue officers transferred, action that discouraged their victims from filing complaints.
“I called a caucus of women police officers and had a meeting with them and the kind of issues I heard were horrific. I could not sleep that night,” Dr Matiang’í told Nation.Africa.
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Consequently, the Interior Ministry is setting up an Ethics and Gender Relations Unit that will work closely with the Internal Affairs Unit in handling and fast tracking those complaints when received via its anonymous reporting system.
“The unit’s members will be trained on how to collect and package evidence and will be reporting directly to the Inspector General of Police,” explained the CS.
Complaints female officers make against their abusive male colleagues include rape, sexual harassment, discrimination and denial of promotions. Some say they serve as constables for many years as their younger colleagues rise up to senior ranks.
Rogue officers commanding police stations also reportedly eye graduate recruits as soon as they are attached to their stations and seduce them in what then ushers in a cycle of harassment that has bedeviled the service for years.
“If you are an OCS and you get these people coming to the station from Kiganjo and look at some as your new supply of girlfriends, how then are you going to be their leader? We will make it illegal for them to seduce their juniors. You try that and we will take you through orderly room proceedings and dismiss you without benefits,” warned Matiang'í.
Promotion of junior officers on such grounds ends up disrupting the chain of command in critical units causing gaps that are a threat to national security when those promoted are not up to task.
To tame the vice some female officers who talked to the CS confessed that a mentorship gap exists between young women joining the service and the veterans.
“We are having very young and naive women joining the service at the age of 18 and who are easily manipulated. Maybe the joining age should be 25 when they are more mature. The unique nature of this job requires that they be mentored to effectively manage their roles without falling for such vices,” said an officer.
The service has largely been male dominated owing to the nature of its role in securing national security. However, with the changing nature of crimes, there is a need for more female officers with many even taking up leadership positions during Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai’s tenure.
“Providing security is no longer a matter of force or guns; it is now a matter of tact, skill and the capacities you bring along. In a fast –changing world, we have been called to acquire new capacities to police an enlightened public. Officers must be ready and psychologically prepared to police a modern country, knowing that they are servants of the people,” Matiang’í said last Friday during the opening of the cadet Inspectors course in Kiganjo.