The High Court on Friday, December 16, invalidated sections of the National Police Service Act hence limiting instances police can use firearms.
The judgment issued by Justice Anthony Mrima invalidated paragraphs 1(c), (d), and (e) of Part B of the Sixth Schedule of the National Police Service Act that gave police officers sweeping powers on lethal use of firearms beyond the protection of their own lives and the lives of others.
The invalidated paragraphs 1(c), (d), and (e) of Part B of the Sixth Schedule of the National Police Service Act.
Act paragraph 1 (c) talks about the protection of life and property through justifiable use of force, and paragraph 1(d) states on preventing a person charged with a felony from escaping lawful custody.
Paragraph 1 (e) talks about preventing a person who attempts to rescue or rescues a person charged with a felony from escaping lawful custody.
The NPS Act was passed into law in 2011 effectively repealing the previous law.
On July 18, 2013 amendments to the NPSA were proposed in the NPS Amendment Bill 2013.
The Bill proposed to amend the 6th schedule to add three new circumstances in which the use of firearms by the police is permissible.
The Bill was passed by the National Assembly on April 30, 2014, assented to on June 26, 2014, and published on July 4, 2014.
The move was after Katiba Institute and Africa Centre for Open Government (AfriCOG) filed a constitutional petition in 2017 to challenge the two sections of the law.
The International Justice Mission (IJM) and Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) were mentioned as interested parties.
They challenged the amendments to the Act.
According to the petitioners, the amendments expanded the circumstances in which police can use guns beyond self-defense and the protection of another person.
“The amendments allowed officers, for example, to use their weapons to protect the property even if there were no risk of serious physical harm to the officer or others,” read the petition in parts.
The petitioners said the use of firearms when the officer was not at risk was unconstitutional, violating the rights to life, human dignity, freedom and security of the person, and fair hearing.
Inspector General Japhet Koome on Friday, December 16, urged police officers to be steadfast in their duty and shun those who threaten to sue them over their use of firearms.
“Some busybodies were silent about police officers killed in the line of duty and only voiced reservations when police officers shoot a crime suspect,” he said.
He said he is behind the officers as they go on with their businesses arguing “Today we are mourning and I do not see them anywhere.”