Traffic cops on their way out as IG makes changes

The traffic department has been scrapped and any police officer can now be deployed to man traffic in a major policy shift.

The reporting structure of the traffic department has been overhauled and police station commanders given powers to deal with all traffic matters in their area of command.

There will no longer be police officers attached to the department. Any police officer can now be deployed to do traffic work as well as general duties in the latest directive by the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet.

Under the new guidelines, all traffic matters will be dealt with by police station commanders in addition to their normal duties of fighting crime.

Previously, the traffic department was detached in its operations and command.

Traffic officers working at the police station level were not answerable to the station chief but to a base commander who is an officer in the rank of Chief Inspector, a rank also held by the station boss.

The traffic base commanders countrywide will now be deployed to other police functions.

Lucrative posting

Already, some county police chiefs have started implementing the new directive while others are dragging their feet.

Nakuru county commander Hassan Barua in a letter reference 1/3/6/3 Vol 94 has directed all traffic police in his county to report to station commanders and take charge of traffic management in their jurisdiction.

Barua said station commanders will decide on whom to deploy to traffic duties. This means that there will be no specific police officers attached to the traffic department as the case has been.

Police station bosses will plan a weekly duty rooster where even police officers falling under the general duties office can now be deployed to traffic duties.

The changes have drawn mixed reaction from the rank and file.

Some officers, especially those who worked in the traffic department which was seen as a lucrative posting, have opposed the changes and think the new directive will mess up traffic management.

The traffic department has been accused of corruption and officers working in this section accused of rampant extortion.

Those in general duty feel it is a welcome relief as they also have a chance to serve in the traffic management which is seen as a lighter job compared to other police work.

Senior police officers say the move is aimed at taming corruption in the traffic department.

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