Digital occurrence book to help reduce police corruption

Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai addressing journalists at his office in Nairobi on November 1, 2019. He said that digitising police operations is a way of dealing with corruption head-on. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Senior police officers will now be able to monitor every report that is entered in real time and the actions taken.
  • The responsibility of making entries on the OB is ultimately shouldered by the officer on duty at the registry.

Kenyans will have to wait a bit longer before the digital Occurrence Book (OB) launched on Friday starts operating in all police stations as plans are to pilot it in Nairobi.

The development has elicited much excitement, with debate raging as to whether this will be the magic bullet that will cure the cancer of corruption that has afflicted the police service for ages.

Questions are also emerging over how police posts and patrol bases in the rural areas, which do not have electricity, will be connected to the digital OB, or whether police officers have been sufficiently trained to adopt the new computer-based system.

As of Sunday, all police stations within Kasarani Division had gone digital. The digitisation began in March when all officers within the National Police Service (NPS), Administration Police (AP) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had their biometric data captured.

REFORMS JOURNEY

State House said that the exercise, which enabled the government to weed out ghost officers from its payroll leading to savings of Sh2 billion, involved a compulsory six-month training in information and communication technology for all officers in the lead up to Friday’s event.

Mr Mutyambai on Sunday expressed optimism that the new system will reduce corruption within the service which has consistently ranked as the most corrupt public service department.

“The digital Occurrence Book is a great milestone in the journey towards reforms,” he said.

Senior police officers will now be able to monitor every report that is entered in real time and the actions taken.

Regional, county, sub-county and ward commanders will also be able to monitor and give directions in respect of their areas of jurisdiction.

“This will enhance supervision of police operations in the field beginning at the commander's level and make every police officer more accountable,” Mr Mutyambai said.

RESISTANCE

Also targeted for digitisation are the Serious Crimes Register, Arms Movement Register and the Exhibit Register.

Ultimately, a Case File Management System to be used by investigators and DCI will be established.

Questions still remain on the willingness of the beat officers to implement the new directive. The responsibility of making entries on the OB is ultimately shouldered by the officer on duty at the registry.

In several cases, people who are arrested are never recorded on the OB as corrupt police officers opt to negotiate for bribes in order to release them.

The gun drama between Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives and police officers guarding a roadblock in Kisumu on Wednesday is the latest example on how the police can go out of their way in order to get bribes.

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