Lessons From Intersectoral Urban Violence Prevention
What is the context, and what were we trying to achieve?
We had organized a Community Policing Forum (CPF) aimed at addressing criminal violence through strengthening community policing. During the CPF meeting held on 13th January 2017, members of Nyumba Kumi were initially hostile to the Officer Commanding Station (OCS), Elementaita. The source of this hostility was a feeling that the CPC as was then constituted was not geographically and ethnically representative. These sentiments had been earlierraised by the Chief Ol Jorai Location and indirectly expressed by members of the Nyumba Kumi present who work under him. We therefore had a bad start in that Community Policing Forum (CPF) held under the jurisdiction of the Elementaita Police Station between Community Policing Committees (CPCs) and the Nyumba Kumi members.
What happened, and why? From this, what information did we learn (what do we know now that we didn’t know at the beginning of the quarter)?
Members of Nyumba Kumi initiative who work closely with the Chief Ol Jorai Location had issues with the way the CPC was constituted. They raised a concern that the CPC was not effective in discharging its mandate.
What we learnt from this was that we had to deliberately target the Nyumba Kumi members and area Chiefs during the CPF meetings. While planning for the Elementaita CPF meeting, we agreed together with the OCS and CPC members to hold a CPF in each location and have the area Chiefs bring 20 of the Nyumba Kumi members to the CPF meeting. The presence of the Nyumba Kumi members in itself was preemptive because their invitation was deliberate since they had been included, we used this to deescalate the tensions.
How has this information made us more able to try and achieve what we were trying to achieve.
By deescalating the tensions by bringing to the attention of the CPC and Nyumba Kumi members the broad picture on violence prevention; it was agreed that the CPC membership and restricting is a continuous process and that the opinions raised on inclusion will progressively be looked into.
By recognizing and appreciating the need for interrelationship between Nyumba Kumi and Community Policing Committees (CPC), in the end; there was a resolve among them to work together. These sentiments were also echoed by the Chief Ol Jorai Location and the OCS Elementaita.
Have we made any changes/ are we planning on making changes?
Yes. As MidRift Hurinet, we have planned to deliberately target members of the Nyumba Kumi and area Chiefs in all the CPF meetings. We are also in liaison with Security Research and Information Centre (SRIC) to see how the CPCs can be restructured through the elections that it will be holding in the four police stations for the CPCs.
What should someone who is trying to do something similar know?
There is need to strengthen Nyumba Kumi and Community Policing Committee (CPC) collaborations in violence prevention since Nyumba Kumi is the lowest level of community policing. It is also good to engage Chiefs since they have better historical and institutional memory of the areas than the Officer Commanding Station (OCS). OCSs experience frequent transfers and so unlike the Chiefs might not know what works best in a certain area and whether ethnic and geographical diversity is adhered to in constituting the CPCs.