National Police Service Officers Preparedness in Undertaking Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Duties in Garissa County, Kenya
Mwinga, Samson Njeru
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Improvise Explosive Devices (IEDs) is an emerging and contemporary universal security threat. The use of IED is rampant in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia and Kenya, where terrorist groups are unceasingly causing political instability through pursuit of ideological and religious motives. To combat this security menace in Kenya, especially in areas witnessing high propensity, such as Garissa, Mandera, Wajir, and Lamu, counties, adequate police preparedness is considered crucial. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the levels of preparedness of the National Police Service (NPS) to undertake counter improvised explosives (C-IEDs) operations in Garissa County, Kenya. The study was guided by the following research objectives: determine the prevalence of IEDs; assess the levels of competencies possessed by NPS officers, examine counter IEDs resources provided to NPS officers; and to determine challenges faced by NPS officers in countering IEDs. The independent variable was NPS preparedness and the dependent variable was counter IED. The relevant scholarly literature was reviewed based on the study objectives. Two theoretic approaches were used to ground and fuse information and propositions advanced by the study. The constraint theory was used to provide insight in understanding the range of challenges and problems officers face in their quest to counter IEDs in Kenya, while the scientific management theory was used to find the best management principles that can be adopted for effective and efficient carrying out of C-IED operations in NPS. The target populations were serving members of the National Police Service, civil society organizations (CSO), national government administrative officers (NGAOs) and members of local community. The researcher adopted a descriptive survey research design. Mixed sampling methods were adopted. Stratified sampling was used to cluster members of NPS, according to their services which include: Kenya Police (KPS), Administration Police (APS) and Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI). Purposive sampling was used to select Sub-counties for the study and identifying key informants from CSO, NGAO and members of local communities. Questionnaires, Focus Group Discussions guide (FGDs) and key informants’ interviews (KII) guides were used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data was analyzed by the use of simple descriptive statistics like percentages, frequencies while qualitative data was analyzed by grouping using open coding to generate themes that the researcher analyzed using thematic analysis. The results were presented using tables, pie charts, bar graphs, and narratives. The study observed that Kenya has not been spared by the brunt of the IED menace stemming from Al-Shaabab terrorist group operating from within and outside the country. IEDs kill thousands every year. The IEDs mostly target members of the security forces and national critical infrastructure (NCI). Civilian casualties have also been reported. They inflict grievous physical injuries, cause dire psychological harm, and spread extreme fear. They also disrupt communal economic activities. The study also found that IEDs are relatively cheap and easy to assemble. They can be assembled anywhere and from wide range of materials including commercial explosives used in construction, mining, and manufacturing industry. Industrial fertilizers are the main source of its inventory. The study concluded that NPS is ill prepared to counter IEDs. This study therefore recommends that NPS should develop effective and efficient counter IED strategies and guidelines in the context of constrained and poorly kitted police force and rising prevalence of IED. This will enable officers to effectively and efficiently perform counter IED tasks and duties. The study will add empirical value to the security services operational preparedness body of knowledge and researches.