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Don’t kill Kenyans, Ipoa tells police

The police watchdog has asked the force not to engage in any acts that could lead to the loss of lives  during elections.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) on Monday said it was concerned about reports that police have received body bags ahead of Tuesday poll.

BAGS

“While the authority does not dispute that the police should be prepared for any eventuality, perception should not be created that they plan to take lives,” Ipoa chairman Macharia Njeru said.

He said the authority expects the police to conduct themselves with the highest level of professionalism.

A section of the media reported that the police had received First Aid kits that included body bags and Kenyans on social media criticised the move, saying it was fuelling tension and anxiety.

The bags received by Nyanza Regional Commander Joseph Chepkeitany on Friday were part of sanitary material donated to police by an NGO called Malteser International.

The donation also had 14,000 pair of gloves, 14 first aid kits, 1,400 litres of disinfectant and 14 rescue stretchers.

Ipoa, in a statement to newsrooms, urged the public to be peaceful and to respect the law as they exercise their right to vote.

THE LAW

“While enforcing the law, Schedule Six of the National Police Service Act is very clear that police officers must always attempt to use non-violent means first.

“If they must, force may only be employed when non-violent means have failed,” Mr Njeru said, adding that force used must be proportional to the desired objective or the seriousness of the offence.

Ipoa on Thursday said it had dispatched 105 officers to 31 counties in the country to monitor police conduct during the poll.

The authority said it intended to see how the deployed police officers would conduct their duties in 77 constituencies, and whether they would comply with Article 244 of the Constitution that calls for professionalism.

PARTNERS

The law also requires members of the National Police Service to comply with human rights and fundamental freedoms and foster relations with the society.

“In areas where Ipoa has no direct monitors, it will partner with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and other organisations,” Ipoa Chief Executive Officer Joel Mabonga said.

Mr Mabonga said all Ipoa monitors would be easily identified with Ipoa Staff badges, IEBC observer badges and an accreditation letter signed by the Ipoa CEO.

“Members of the public are encouraged to report to Ipoa any cases of misconduct or commendations of the police during the election period,” he added.

What are Forms 34A and 34B?

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