Police officers look to God, counselling to avoid stress 

Eldoret Central Police Station

The Eldoret Central Police Station.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • All police stations in Uasin Gishu County benefit from psychosocial support from experts.
  • Beneficiaries of the counselling have hailed the NPS for factoring in their social well-being.

It is 6:45am. The air vibrates with melodious praise and worship tunes, welcoming you to Central Police Station in downtown Eldoret.

The music subsides, ushering in fervent voices locked in a cacophony of loud prayers.

This is a daily routine for officers at the station - starting their day with spiritual nourishment.

It has also become a culture for all police stations in Uasin Gishu County.

Early in the morning, as they start their day, officers engage in prayers that culminate in guidance and counselling sessions on handling work-related problems.

“He makes me walk through streets of crime, but He gives me courage and peace of mind. He leads me in righteousness as He restores my soul. For His name's sake He keeps me whole.” 

This is what all officers recite ahead of going out to assignment. It is coined from Psalms 23 in the Bible.

This culture is part of a mechanism to address work and family-related stress and the growing cases of domestic violence, some of which have ended fatally.

All police stations in Uasin Gishu County benefit from psychosocial support from experts.

According to County Police Commander Benjamin Mwanthi, the National Police Service (NPS) is aware of this need.

Mr Mwanthi told Nation that, every morning before the start of their daily activities, officers undergo spiritual nourishment and counselling on various topical issues ranging from marriage to parenting, among other issues relating to their work.

“We have counsellors and spiritual leaders who always offer spiritual nourishment to our officers before the start of their daily duties. The spiritual nourishment and counselling helps our officers to learn how to manage stress and negative emotions emanating from the nature of our job,” said Mr Mwanthi.

In a recent case in which a female officer in the county was charged with killing her husband by shooting him 12 times, it emerged that she was a victim of domestic violence.

A witness in the case told the High Court in Eldoret that the accused was the long-suffering victim of an abusive marriage.

The court heard that the police constable, a mother of four, had attempted to terminate the relationship with her estranged abusive husband a few days before she shot him dead. 

In November 2023, another police officer at Railways Police Line in Eldoret town was arrested after his wife’s body was found in his house with gunshot wounds.

It was reported that the officer shot and killed the woman and went back to work as usual. The incident followed endless family feuds.

In the same month, another police officer allegedly shot himself dead at the Kipkaren River Police Station in Turbo Sub-county.

Four years ago, a police constable at Soy Police Station was charged with the murder of his wife by shooting her 11 times. All the cases are still active in court.

According to Mr Mwanthi, since the establishment of the counselling department led by trained professionals, the social lives of officers, especially those who had been exhibiting symptoms of stress and other anti-social behaviours, have drastically gone down.

Officers who are beneficiaries of the counselling have hailed the NPS for factoring in their social well-being.

“We are human beings and we need counselling just like any other Kenyan. Since the establishment of this programme, I can manage work-related stress better, as well as my family challenges,” an officer who has benefited from the services told Nation on condition of anonymity.

The officer said that there is a need for the government to provide more policemen and women with counselling to enable them to better handle challenges in the family and at work.