Police Service bans firearms for traffic cops after shooting scare
Police Service orders traffic cops to surrender firearms after shooting saga
The Kenya Police Service has issued a directive that no officer on traffic duty should carry a firearm. This comes after an incident where a traffic cop allegedly tried to shoot at anti-corruption officers who were arresting him for taking bribes.
The Deputy Inspector General of the Kenya Police Service, Douglas Kanja, sent a memo to all commanders on November 30, 2023, instructing them to enforce the directive. The memo, signed by his deputy Miriam Muli, stated that the use of firearms by traffic officers had resulted in misuse and abuse.
The memo read: “From today, November 30, 2023, no officer actively on traffic duty will carry a firearm. Commanders ensure that this directive is complied with promptly. Confirm copied and compliance.”
A senior officer who spoke to the Star said that the directive was not new, and had been in place for a long time. He said that the directive was only being reiterated and reinforced.
The directive was prompted by a recent incident where a traffic officer opened fire at officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) who were conducting a sting operation. The EACC officers had witnessed the traffic officer receiving bribes from motorists on a major highway, and moved in to arrest him. However, the traffic officer resisted arrest and attempted to shoot at the EACC officers. He managed to escape, but no one was injured.
The EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak condemned the incident and called for the disarming of traffic officers. He said that the EACC was in communication with the office of the Inspector General on the matter. He said that the presence of armed traffic cops on the roads was meant to intimidate and deter the EACC officers from carrying out their mandate.
He said: “Our position as the EACC in coordination with the office of the Inspector General, we are in communication with the IG and he supports our operations, is that traffic policemen and policewomen should never be armed unless it is extremely necessary for their safety.”