Mr. Charles Wahongo Owino was a familiar face to most Kenyans for many years as director of corporate communications for the National Police Service (NPS), a role given to Mr. Shioso, who recently spoke to the Daily Nation journalist STELLA CHERONO .
You recently joined the NPS as Director of Communications. Where were you before that?
I worked with the NPS and the UN. I received the best service at DCI in many functions. These range from serving as a criminal court prosecutor, as a fraud investigator, as a DCIO, as a PA, to having two DCI directors, an assistant director of the CBK’s bank fraud investigation department and a CCIO (County DCI Chief) before going to the United Nations in New York switched to a three-year contract as an expert on transnational organized crime. According to my contract, I applied for annual leave only to be called back by the IG shortly to start the current task.
Who is Bruno Isohi Shioso?
I’m your average officer with a penchant for justice. I’ve had ups and downs, but I focus on my best when I learn from the depths. I’ve had the privilege of working with bright officers.
What strategy do you bring to the service and what is your greatest strength?
I would like to lead a strong professional and competent communication team that is motivated to shape the corporate image of NPS and to articulate the IG’s vision in public. I intend to be direct with Kenyans by sharing information in a timely manner and to play a role in educating them about who the police are and what policing is. We have to operate from the same baseline with the public. I also want to be a student of public expectation to communicate effectively internally. This is the only way to remedy the lack of trust between the police and the public. Finally, I would like to congratulate my predecessors, who have worked tirelessly on the design and mainstreaming of NPS corporate communications.
My strength lies in working with teams. I am trying to build coalitions with the media, colleagues and the public.
You are joining the NPS at a time when officials are being held responsible for disappearances, arbitrary arrests and executions will. What are you going to do differently to make sure the public’s trust is restored?
We take on disappearances and the rest like any other crime. The NPS is investigating the allegations based on evidence. If there are allegations of police complicity, report them to the Independent Police Oversight Authority (Ipoa). The police are law enforcement officers, not law breakers. Those who break the law blame themselves personally.
When the Directorate of Guidance, Control and Communications (IC3) was established, Kenyans hoped it would end or reduce robberies, kidnappings and street robberies would . The investigations in this direction have recently come to a dead end. Does the IC3 work? Is there a communication problem?
The IC3 is a game changer, especially in Nairobi and Mombasa. It’s a smart police model. We have registered more efficiency since it was deployed. We have taken a proactive stance that affects our planning and operational skills. IC3 helps us a lot in our investigations. It is difficult to quantify the effectiveness of IC3 usually because people measure police outcomes through metrics, but the real measurement is not in the number of cases detected, it is in crime prevention. This is a delicate measure. The police have the sixth feeling of knowing when an intervention is working.
As with any new solution on the market, there is always a learning curve. We will perfect the system.
Are the facial recognition functions working? Why weren’t the killers of Jacob Juma, Chris Musando, George Muchai and many others arrested?
Murder is one of the most difficult crimes to investigate. Offenders plan meticulously in advance. Forensic science is only part of the solution. For example, when we talk about DNA and facial recognition, like fingerprints, we first need to have a database as a basis. What baseline should the police compare without a DNA database and facial biometrics?
That is why we need to interact with Kenyans to educate them about the capabilities and limitations of the police.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang ‘ i directed the NPS and regional commanders to facilitate the voluntary distribution of firearms in Laikipia. Does that also apply to bandits? How many guns were surrendered in the operational zone and the neighboring counties of Baringo, Samburu and Isiolo?
Amnesty is one of the solutions in Laikipia. The subject of Laikipia is viewed holistically. Sustainable solutions for the pasture conflict and banditry within the larger region must be finally sorted out. It is a region with great potential. Guns should only be in the hands of security agents and licensed individuals.
What is the security plan ahead of the 2022 elections? Some counties have already been identified as possible hotspots.
Preparations for NPS security are in full swing. We partner with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as lead and other stakeholders. This role is taken very seriously on the NPS events calendar. Hotspot mapping is key to police operations, especially during elections. Predictive policing helps plan, including smart use of resources and assets.
Areas identified as hotspots are experiencing a resurgence of criminal gangs. What are the concerns of the NPS as many young people in slums are at risk?
We’re looking at the resurgence when it raises its head. NPS has no tolerance for criminal gangs and violence. Young people are abused when they are supposed to be involved in economic ventures. You need to know the dangers of gang life.
Terrorist attacks have been foiled on the coast and in parts of northeastern Kenya. Do we need to worry? Are such incidents related to the 2022 elections?
It shows that our counter-terrorism strategy is working. Kenya is a good example of fighting terrorism. We have a robust regime that starts with good laws, political frameworks and enforcement. There are also vigils and a resilient population. NPS integrates community policing to complement existing counter-terrorism measures. In short, our counterterrorism infrastructure takes care of Kenyans. Many countries and law enforcement agencies are learning from us.
In your brief stint as NPS spokesperson, you have been made aware of exactly how you convey important information. A worrying point is when you refer to a journalist as a “mere blogger” even though she was registered with the Kenya Media Council. Should journalists be concerned about the perceived antagonism?
Thank you for bringing up the subject that emerged from the Laikipia coverage. I didn’t refer to anyone as a “mere blogger”, but I hinted at “a blogger”. I know that did not go well for many journalists. I even had an open discussion with the Media Council after the said journalist apparently complained. The hint was not derogatory. In fact, blogging is mainstream media. Any journalist can become a blogger. Blogging is simply any form of posting online under someone’s name. I based my blogger reference on the content that appeared online under their credit. It wasn’t until later that I found out that she works for a media company and I’m looking forward to working with her.
My reference wasn’t the actual topic I was addressing at the time. My concern was expressed in the press release and there was no response. Otherwise, there was no malice or antagonism of the resource I should be working with to achieve my primary goal.
What do you think of women’s participation in safety like her from . is provided? United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325?
This is one of my favorite policing topics. I believe in positive action. Women can be game changers when it comes to transformative policing, especially in opening up new areas of collaboration. They are more altruistic, understanding, patient, and emotionally intelligent. You can play a better role in bridging the public gap by being good listeners. The NPS is affirmative action compliant. Equality may take some time, but we are working towards that goal.
The General Service Unit has only been hiring men recently. Why is that?
There is no policy that discriminates against women joining HSE. The NPS, including the HSE, is an equal opportunity employer.
What is the NPS doing to combat suicides and murders in the police force? < / p>
For the first time, NPS has developed a long-term counseling and counseling structure intervention to address the officers’ psychological needs. To this end, NPS has also worked with Chiromo Hospitals, the Red Cross and many other actors. This is a critical area of intervention as policing is a predictor of stress. Other areas of intervention include a focus on employee well-being and a change in staff practice.
A task force to investigate the mental health of civil servants was formed in 2017. What were their results and how is the NPS dealing with this issue?
Since I am new, I need time to analyze the details of the results. I like to be precise with information.
Police officers have been accused of disposing of corpses in morgues and of failing to investigate the dead determine. the civil status register has a robust database that is accessible to the police. What is the NPS’s plan in this regard?
Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, the police are being blamed for every guilt. Even when they go through the rigors of collecting corpses, some of which are mutilated, they are still accused of dumping them! As long as the public does not understand the difficulties police officers have, we will always complain.
Ipoa has in the past blamed the NPS for the cover-up, particularly when investigating alleged crimes of Police officers are committed. Is the police deliberately confusing the investigation to protect their own?
I don’t think Ipoa can hold the police responsible for covering up colleagues. The agency has the ultimate mandate and authority to investigate the police. If Ipoa has evidence of cover-ups, it is more to blame for the accomplices. But I’ve never heard of that. All I know is that the IPOA and NPS work together on matters of police misconduct and excess.