What the law says about civilians assaulting police officers


Traffic police. Photo/COURTESY
Traffic police. Photo/COURTESY

In Summary

  • According to Section 103 (a) of the National Police Service Act No. 11 (A) of 2011 , offences related to assault of police can attract a fine not exceeding 1 million shillings, imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.
  • The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has also warned members of the public that assaulting a police officer is a criminal offence.

Two different videos showing police officers being assaulted by civilians in public have been a matter of debate both on mainstream and social media.

In one video, a tuk tuk driver is seen battling two police officers on a road in Nakuru County. The man and the officers are captured hurling stones at each other before the police decide to flee.

The man claimed the officers had destroyed the windscreen and side mirrors of his tuk tuk, prompting him to take matters into his hands.

“I got annoyed and demanded to be given answers, as they tried to intimidate me, saying there was nothing I could do to them,” he told a local newspaper.

In another video, a man believed to be a boda boda rider is seen wrestling with a police officer, who is armed with an Ak47 rifle that hangs from his shoulder.

While circumstances under which the incidents happened could not be immediately ascertained, the law is quite clear on what the consequences of assaulting a police officer.

According to Section 103 (a) of the National Police Service Act No. 11 (A) of 2011 , offences related to assault of police can attract a fine not exceeding 1 million shillings, imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.

“Any person who— (a) assaults, resists or willfully obstructs a police officer in the due execution of the police officer’s duties; (b) assaults, resists or willfully obstructs any person acting in aid of the police officer; (c) attacks an animal belonging to the Service; or (d) intentionally or recklessly, destroys police property, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.”

Chapter 14 Section 243 (4) of the Kenyan constitution gives parliament powers to enact laws that will protect the police service in execution of its duties.

Further, under the same chapter section 244 (a) and  (e), the law requires police officers to strive for the highest standards of professionalism and discipline among its members as well as fostering and promoting relationships with the broader society.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has also warned members of the public that assaulting a police officer is a criminal offence.

“IPOA strongly condemns these attacks….With a serving Police Service and a robust Judiciary in place, it is unacceptable for anyone to take the law into their own hands,” the agency said.

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Story By Wycliffe Nyamasege
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