New Bill seeks to abolish police detention through weekends
Monday, 27 February 2023
A proposed amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code, if successfully passed by Parliament, could bring an end to the arbitrary arrests aimed at locking up suspects through weekends.
Sponsored by Belgut MP Nelson Koech, the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2023 seeks to make it mandatory for police officers to grant a bond to persons arrested without a warrant, except for capital offences of murder, treason, robbery with violence and attempted robbery with violence.
Essentially, the bill seeks to stop the government’s misuse of the police service for political reasons by arresting people on Fridays or weekends and having them detained in police cells pending their arraignment or granting of bond the following week.
If passed into law, it could also save thousands of citizens who are extorted by rogue police officers after being arrested for minor offences.
Koech’s proposal seeks to repeal section 36 of the law that makes it discretionary for the police to issue a bond. This means that the arrested person will not be required to be brought to court within 24 hours after the arrest but will be released on the payment of the bond to appear in court at a time and place to be named in the bond.
The bill comes on the back of multiple pledges by the William Ruto administration to bring an end to the misuse of the National Police Service to harass political opponents.
After granting the NPS financial independence, President Ruto said the Service was now free from political weaponization. He pointed out that granting the police financial independence would help it maintain efficiency and professionalism. “Without autonomy, the police service is vulnerable to weaponization, making it a threat, instead of the solution to challenges in our security and law-and-order sectors,” the President said in January.