Kenya News Security

Interior CS promises resources for mental health for Police, Prisons

The Government will commit more resources to mental health and counselling in the Police and Prisons departments to help officers deal with stress and other personal challenges.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i said the officers, like other members of society, were susceptible to stressful work environment that has been compounded by the challenges of the Covid pandemic.

He said although preliminary investigations on the shooting of five people by a police officer who later turned the gun on himself in Kabete pointed to a possible love triangle as the likely trigger, detectives had been dispatched to the scene with a brief to conduct thorough investigations.

“The DCI and the Police Internal Affairs department are already on location. Within three days, we should be able to share with the public the findings from the investigations. We have nothing to hide,” the CS said.

Speaking at the Administration Police Training College, Embakasi during a memorial service for police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty Dr. Matiang’i said the Kabete incident pointed to deep-lying issues in the society.

He expressed concerns with how the case and other cases of suspected mental health involving officers were being reported especially on social media and urged for sensitivity and compassion around the subject.

“Why should people spread rumours to score points yet we have a grave issue we are dealing with? Why wake up in the morning spinning stories and insulting everyone? What kind of a society are we building? Some of the people doing this call themselves leaders and opinion shapers,” he said.

The CS stated that mental health issues are not exclusive to police officers and called for collective efforts to tackle the underlying social pressures and support for the people in need of help.

He said, “We have had challenges across the country – not only in the National Police Service. There are mental issues, social pressure and cases of homicides. It’s not going to be a matter of the police or the provincial administration. It requires all of us. That is how we build a strong community.”

This is a deliberate drive to destigmatize mental health and stress and to actively reach out to potential cases through the existing social-cultural structure, including Nyumba kumi initiative, according to the CS.

“What happened is very unfortunate, but let us exercise a sense of responsibility. We have built institutions over the years painstakingly, and they are strong enough to deal with the challenges we have. We’ve been having meetings with faith based groups and the clergy over the same.”

Dr. Matiang’i also divulged that the Ministry is pursuing better avenues for improving the welfare of the surviving families of fallen police officers and address their vulnerabilities.

The CS announced that due to the challenges and disputes encountered during the processing of compensation for beneficiaries of deceased officers, every serving officer will be required to provide an accurate record of their kin and preferred beneficiaries.

To help expedite payment of termination gratuity and other benefits, the officers will also be encouraged to formalize their unions and to make information on the same officially available to the human resource management department.

A digital inventory of the families of fallen officers will also be developed to facilitate outreach programmed and follow-up visits with a view to improving their welfare.

The memorial service was attended by Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, DIG (APS) Noor Gabow, Commissioner General of Prisons Brigadier (Rtd) John Kibaso and DCI Director George Kinoti and members of the families of the fallen officers.


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