Kenya News

Police given fresh orders against erecting roadblocks & detaining vehicles on roads

Police officers have once again been warned against erecting any roadblock anywhere without official approval.

Further, no vehicle should be detained on the road for long hours without explanation.

The fresh move came after a meeting between Inspector General of police Hilary Mutyambai his deputy Edward Mbugua, regional commanders, and county commanders in Nairobi.

A communication from Mbugua said the meeting noted there is the continued erection of roadblocks on the highways without approval despite an earlier directive to the contrary.

“This morning, I have directed Ainabkoi Traffic sub-base disbanded for continued laying of a roadblock, detaining vehicle for long hours without cause and complaints of collecting bribes from motorists with impunity despite earlier directives issued for Traffic management,” said Mbugua in a memo to county commanders dated September 3.

He told every commander to ensure there are no roadblocks, static traffic checks, no detaining of vehicles along the road for long hours, and no taking of bribes from motorists within their jurisdictions.

He said should complaints be raised by members of the public on the directives, investigations will be conducted to avoid victimization.

“However, when an element of truth will be established, stiff action is taken against the individual errant officer but the whole sub base will be disbanded.

He told the commanders to ensure close and maximum supervision on traffic management and the concerned base commanders.

“I will call a meeting next week to draw proper strategy and review our progress on this subject matter,” he said.

This is the third time in a year that the police commanders are meeting to discuss the issue of traffic management.

The meeting took place at the Police Pavilion in Nairobi on September 2.

Earlier directive

An earlier directive said any approved roadblock must be staffed by a multi-agency team and have an approved purpose — not personal enrichment.

This followed public complaints that the barriers are still being erected despite an earlier order to remove them.

Many motorists and others, however, complained they were being harassed and extorted. There have been viral videos online showing police officers taking bribes at the roadblocks.

Checkpoints and roadblocks on highways are only to be mounted with the express authority of regional-formation commanders and must be justified and rationalised, Mbugua said.

Every roadblock must have a specific purpose.

For instance, there is a permanent roadblock on the major Nairobi-Garissa highway and the Nairobi-Marsabit Road to stop drugs and human trafficking. Similar barriers are staffed by multi-agency teams.

The memo said sub county and the station commanders will be held accountable for any unauthorised roadblock in their jurisdiction.

Despite an order by Mutyambai that fixed roadblocks be abolished and replaced by mobile ones, it emerged dozens of officers were still using the barricades for personal enrichment.

For instance, in Rift Valley — with the busiest international highway connecting Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and DRC —traffic personnel are still setting up barriers despite the orders.

When he came to office on April 8, 2019, Mutyambai said he would streamline traffic operations.

He introduced 38 patrol cars on major highways to conduct random checks of specific routes and abolish roadblocks.

Mutyambai said the cars would have four personnel, including the officer-in-charge, the driver and two others.

“There will be no discussions with traffic offenders at any checkpoints and the checks should not affect the free flow of the traffic,” he said.

He said trained personnel had been deployed in all towns to facilitate the free flow of traffic and ensure prompt response to incidents.

The IG commissioned 25 additional new cars to be on the routes and enhance operations.

The vehicles included 17 that were distributed to major highways and eight to regional commanders for their patrols.

“No officer should be deployed to perform traffic duties without service experience of 10 years and all personnel should be in proper uniforms with displayed service tags,” Mutyambai said.

He had announced that patrols had been enhanced on major highways to address any fears following the withdrawal of traffic checkpoints and roadblocks.

Many traffic personnel manning roadblocks were deployed to general duties.


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