Amid growing concerns over the misuse of firearms by officers actively engaged in traffic duties, the National Police Service has issued a directive, effective from November 30th, 2023, prohibiting the carrying of firearms by officers on traffic duty.
In a communication addressed to all Regional Police Officers (R), Regional Traffic Enforcement Officers (R), Commandant Traffic (R), and Director Operations, the directive expressed serious apprehension about the recent incidents involving the misuse of firearms by officers assigned to traffic duties.
The directive, issued by Vigilance Nairobi, explicitly states, "It has been noted with great concern that officers actively engaged on traffic duties are armed (carry firearms), resulting in the misuse of the firearms by the officers."
In response to this concern, the National Police Service has taken a decisive step by implementing a complete ban on officers carrying firearms while on traffic duty.
Effective immediately, the directive mandates that "no officer actively on traffic duties will carry a firearm." The repetition of this instruction underscores the gravity of the directive and leaves no room for ambiguity.
Commanders at all levels have been tasked with ensuring the prompt compliance of their subordinates with this directive.
The communication emphasizes the importance of adherence to the new policy and explicitly instructs commanders to confirm both receipt of the directive and compliance.
This development marks a significant shift in police protocol, reflecting a commitment to addressing public concerns and enhancing the safety of both officers and civilians during routine traffic operations.
The decision to disarm officers on traffic duty is likely to have far-reaching implications for policing strategies, with a renewed emphasis on non-lethal methods for maintaining public order.
As the National Police Service takes this proactive measure, it remains to be seen how law enforcement officers and the public will respond to this change, as the nation grapples with finding the right balance between maintaining security and safeguarding against potential misuse of firearms by officers on duty.