African officials urge enhanced fight against graft in police service

NAIROBI, July 3 (Xinhua) — African countries should intensify the fight against graft within the police service to boost its integrity and ability to serve the public, officials said on Wednesday.

Noordin Haji, director of Public Prosecution of Kenya, said corruption was a big threat to achieving police accountability and democratic governance, hence the need to root it out.

“Fighting corruption within government institutions is crucial in enhancing accountability within the police force and enhancing proper governance,” Haji said during the International Conference on Police Accountability in Africa taking place in Nairobi.

Haji said that holding police accountable was crucial to enhance provision of security, welfare, rights and citizen’s freedom.

“In order to achieve effective accountability, oversight institutions and processes are necessary for the institutionalization of democratic policing culture and practices,” said Haji.

Charles Owino, Kenya Police Spokesman, called on the members of public to cooperate with the police to help them realize their mandate of offering security.

“To discharge the mandate, the police are vested with the powers of surveillance, arrest, investigation, seizure and interrogation. Members of the public need to come on board to provide the vital information to the officers to help them realize this important mandate,” said Owino.

“Police agencies are an integral part of the state and the only means by which the coercive powers of the government are exercised,” he added.

Owino said that for a long time the public had not appreciated the importance of police accountability and the role they play in promoting human rights.

“We must not underestimate the importance of our police officers. A primary mandate of the police is to protect the life, property, dignity, rights and freedoms of citizens from violations. We need to appreciate what they do,” said Owino.