Buruburu police officer seen on video staggering dies by suicide

A file photo of Buruburu Police Station in Nairobi.

An officer from the Buruburu Police Station who caught the attention of Inspector-General Hillary Mutyambai when he was captured on video apparently intoxicated has taken his own life.

The officer died at the police residential houses in Buruburu.

A police report seen by Nations revealed that the officer identified as Mr Harrison Mugo died after hanging himself on a rope at the Buruburu station's canteen.

“It was reported by Mr Salim Onteri a grounds man at Buruburu police line that he woke up at 6am for his normal duties near the police canteen when he spotted the deceased hanging on rafters of the burnt police canteen within the police station lines,” the report read in part.

Mr Ontere reported the matter, the scene was visited by top police officers led by Kamukunji police boss.

The body was later taken to Mama Lucy Teaching and Referral Hospital's morgue.

The death came barely hours after Mr Mutyambai’s office said it had taken note of the video making the rounds on social media that shows the officer staggering.

In a statement on Wednesday, July 6, the National Police Service described the behaviour as “unbecoming, unacceptable and unprofessional”.

“The National Police Service condemns it in the strongest terms possible. A uniformed police officer is a visible representation and face of government and is required to remain extremely disciplined and professional while on duty and off duty,” the statement read.

The statement said the Buruburu police command was handling the matter internally.

The number of officers killing themselves had been increasing recently, and caught the attention of President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2021.

A mental health awareness programme conducted last year also revealed a number of factors behind the trend, including bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, dementia and other psychoses.

Officers had long suffered under the judgment of civilians, who should instead take care of them, said Dr Frank Njenga, the national chairman of the Mental Health Task Force.

He said the Chiromo Groups of Hospitals had agreed to work with the police service and help suffering officers.

“[Officers] are blamed daily on everything that goes wrong within the society. It is time we start treating them as our brothers, sisters, uncles, sons and daughters,” he said.

Dr Njenga said the partnership had identified eight thematic areas to focus on.

They include mental health and well-being, burden of mental illness, mental health in special population, social determinants of mental health, stigma and discrimination, policy and legislative framework, leadership and governance, and mental health services and systems.

He said Kenya Mental Health had come up with an action plan that would see the cases reduced in the next four years.


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