The Ideal scope of the doctrine of police independence in Kenya
The doctrine of police independence is a concept that determines the discretion given to the police in carrying out their activities. This research paper focuses on the origins and purpose of this doctrine, how it has been applied in Kenya and the ideal scope of this independence that should be given to the police to ensure effective and efficient service. The objectives of this study are to examine the current scope of police independence, to identify the weaknesses in the current scope of independence and to establish the mechanisms that can be put in place to reshape the level of police discretion. To achieve this, an analysis of the Constitutional provisions as well as other pieces of legislation is used. In addition, the paper covers both internal and external influences over police activities through the use of qualitative research methodology. Particular attention is given to the historical research approach as it is essential to this study to trace the development of the freedoms and responsibilities of the police from colonial times to the present day in Kenya in order to establish the growth and changes of police independence. The greatest influence over the level of police discretion is the political settlement by the political elite. This can be attributed to the role that the police have played since colonial times when the colonial powers established the institution of the police as a tool to enforce their rule and silence any opposition from the public. The police remained subject to the influence of those in power even after independence and the interests of the public were overridden by the interests of the political elite. The police reform process attempts to depoliticize the police which is paramount in aiding the police in achieving autonomy in their work. Radical changes are required to not only achieve this but to completely transform the perception and role of the institution of the police in Kenya which has been a corrupt and oppressive institution from its genesis.