Effectiveness of Police Security Measures in Addressing Violent Extremism in Mombasa County, Kenya
Omumbo, Martin Otieno
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Violent extremism is the root cause of terrorist attacks on civilian and security apparatus alike. The violent extremists cause fear and disrupt the tranquillity in societies across the world. Despite several hard measures taken by various security agencies across the world, the acts of violent extremism have not decreased. This study examined the measures taken by the police to address violent extremism and its effectiveness in Mombasa County, Kenya. The main objectives of the study were to establish the causes of violent extremism and the effectiveness of measures adopted by the police in curbing the same; to discuss the challenges the police are facing in curbing violent extremism; and finally, to determine the approaches that the police can use to improve counter violent extremism measures in Mombasa County. This study was guided by Program Evaluation Theory by Chen which was used to scrutinize the theoretical background as well as discuss the findings. The conceptual framework showed that acts of violent extremism are dependent on the countermeasures the police take against violent extremism. The study adopted a survey design where both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection were used through the application of questionnaires and personal interviews. The targeted population was total of 1693 comprising of police officers, prisons officers, and religious and civil society leaders in Mombasa County. A sample of 10% was picked from the group using simple random, snowballing and purposive sampling techniques. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic and content review of the literature gathered while Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive frequencies, pie charts, bar graphs and mean determined with the aid of the Statistical Program for Social Sciences (SPSS). The findings were presented in a scientific report for examination. The physical security measures were established to be only suitable for short term preventions, whereas non-physical security measures provided more accurate and long-lasting solutions to the problem of violent extremism. Radicalisation by radical clerics who take advantage of the poverty challenges facing the members of the communities in Mombasa County was established as the main driver towards violent extremism. Engagement of local communities by the authorities counter-narratives and rehabilitation of surrendered terrorists were established to be the most convenient countermeasures. However, lack of adequate resources, training and poor police-community relations were found to be the major challenges. The study concluded that police actions against violent extremists had both direct and indirect impact on the levels of terrorism and recommended the use of intelligence in the countermeasures. The study recommended further research on the effectiveness of the police measures in addressing violent extremism over a different time frame and place in and outside Kenya.