Influence of external oversight by the independent policing oversight authority on police accountability in the performance of their duties within Mathare Subcounty, Nairobi County, Kenya
Watila, Diana Mutunga
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Independent oversight of the police through IPOA seeks to enhance police accountability in the performance of their functions. Despite the presence of IPOA, police continue to perform their duties without due regard to transparency and integrity with continued reports of human rights violations by police officers. Despite the restructuring of the National Police Service and the establishment of the National Police Service Commission, poor police welfare continues to be experienced by police officers potentially contributing to the violation of principles of police articulated in Article 244 of the Constitution. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of external oversight undertaken by IPOA in influencing accountability in police performance of their duties within Mathare Sub- County, within Nairobi County, Kenya. Specifically, the study examined the influence of IPOA on police adherence to rights-based policing, the effect of external oversight by IPOA has improved compliance of the police to the laid down Chapter 6 of the Constitution standards on ethics and integrity in performance of their functions. The study reviewed the international, regional, and national legal framework of police oversight to establish if IPOA is properly constituted under the law and further if it was undertaking external oversight of the police in line with the laid down requirements of Article 10 of the Kenyan Constitution regarding good governance, integrity, transparency, and accountability. Finally, the study identified challenges IPOA faced in enhancing accountability in the police and identified strategies such as enhancing police accountability through motivation by improving police welfare. Based on the systems theory and the accountability theory, the study adopted both qualitative and quantitative approaches to data collection. The study targeted a total of 1,074 police officers, IPOA staff, victims of police misconduct, academicians, and NGO representatives. Based on the Fisher formula, a total of 384 respondents were sampled, using purposive and simple random sampling method. Primary data was collected using both questionnaires and one on one structured interviews which utilised a guide that contained the same set of core questions which were asked in the same order. The questionnaires were pretested to evaluate internal consistency, reliability, and validity. The study found that the commonly identified violation by Mathare respondents was police harassment at 36.5%. 43.1% of the Mathare respondents agreed that police often use force. 63.2 % of police respondents agreed that IPOA was properly established under the law but also felt that IPOA had not been effective in improving police performance through motivation by contribution of police welfare. The study established that though a comprehensive legal framework supported oversight of the police, IPOA had not adequately influenced police accountability in performance of their duties, particularly, upholding human rights during policing, ethics, and integrity in the conduct of their duties. Additionally, IPOA has not influenced accountability in the police in the performance of their duties through rewards and motivation by improving police welfare. The study recommends, among others, provision of adequate medical cover, including psychosocial and mental health support to officers and families of the police officers, expedition of cases on police killings and enforced disappearances in court The study was significant to the national government, police, IPOA, civil society organizations and scholars.
Africa Nazarene University