Crime Si Poa on Friday, February 18th, 2022 held a community dialogue forum in Kisumu city, on building cohesion between communities and the criminal justice system.
The forum brought together different community stakeholders, bodaboda riders, and key players in the criminal justice system including the National Police Service-NPS, The office of the Director of public prosecutions – ODPP, Kenya Independent Policing Oversight- IPOA, Director of Criminal Investigation -DCI, Kenya Judiciary the ministry of interior and coordination of national government.
The #BuildingVoices conversation handled various issues including access to justice, sexual harassment cases, bribery, crime, police-civil relations, the role the bodaboda community can play in helping the criminal justice system, and how the community at large can curb and maintain law and order.
The youth used the forum to express their concerns, highlighting the laxity from the police in ensuring that young people are protected, citing that cases of drug abuse and defilement among minors have been on the rise in the area.
“Young people should feel safe growing up in Kisumu County,” said Inspector Beatrice Luvembe. “If as a young person you feel you have not been served well at the station level, you are advised to go to a higher office and seek to be heard and served and if not we have IPOA go there and complain,” she added. “We must collaborate and work together to ensure we attain justice. ”
Magistrate Lina Akoth warned the audience that “ Despite the behavior of a minor, they are still underage and below the age of 18 years as per the Constitution of Kenya. Please do not sexually engage or defile minors, it is a crime.”
During the dialogue, the youth also lamented against police harassment and tried to seek tentative solutions to ensure protection by the criminal justice system from rogue police officers.
Maurine Odumba from the ODPP encouraged the youth to stand for their rights and ensure sufficient evidence to defend their complaints. “If you are wrongfully accused please provide evidence and witnesses. This is what really matters in a court of law,” she advised.
Inspector Luvembe also discouraged the youth from giving bribes, as it encourages misconduct by rogue police officers. She further revealed that bribery is a two-way traffic and both the giver and the receiver of the bribe have committed a crime. “ We must end this culture of impunity inculcated in us. Let us all be law-abiding citizens,” she advised.
Inspector Luvumbe urged for more collaborative efforts between community leaders, youth groups, and the criminal justice system to ensure a safer community and crime free-city.