No guns for traffic officers, says police chief Koome

Police officers at a checkpoint in Kisumu.

Police officers at a checkpoint in Kisumu.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Traffic police officers have been banned from carrying firearms on duty by the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome.

Through Deputy Inspector General-Kenya Police Service Mirriam Muli in a letter addressed to all command traffic director operation, the directive takes effect from 30 November 2023.

This follows what the police described as increasing cases of traffic officers misusing their firearms.

"It has been noted with great concern that officers actively engaged in traffic duties are armed (carrying firearms). This has led to misuse of firearms by the officers," Ms Muli said in a letter.

Traffic commanders have also been instructed to ensure that orders are followed.

"From today 30 November 2023 (r) 30/11/2023, no officer actively on traffic duty will carry a firearm (r) no officer actively on traffic duty will carry a firearm."

This comes a day after Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Twalib Mbarak said traffic police officers should not be armed following a near-fatal incident on the Nairobi-Mai Mahiu highway.

Speaking on Thursday, Mbarak said one of his commissioners narrowly escaped being shot by the traffic officer while on duty.

"During the incident, one of the suspects opened fire on the EACC officers but no one was injured in the exchange of fire. The three officers were eventually overpowered and taken into custody," Mbarak said.

The officer who fired at the EACC commissioner escaped after the incident and the National Police Service is yet to make a statement on the matter.

The EACC boss said he had called the police IG after the incident and briefed him on the matter.

"I have already spoken to the Inspector General of Police about this and we agree that no traffic policeman should be armed while patrolling the roads unless it is absolutely necessary."

The Anti-Corruption Commission arrested three traffic police officers during Thursday's operation along the Mai Mahiu road while they were taking bribes from motorists.