Role of National Police Service during Public Health Emergencies: Case of Covid 19 Pandemic in Mombasa County, Kenya
Khalil, Dhulkifly Hemed
Musili, Phelista Marura
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The National Police Service is in charge of keeping the public secure and the community free from criminal activity. In some cases, their harsh tactics used to deter crime have recognized the police, including beating and gassing members of the public. The National Police Services are enlisted in times of public health emergencies like the Covid-19 outbreak. Although very important, their involvement in such health risks is still not fully understood. With reference to the Covid-19 outbreak in Mombasa County, Kenya, this study was conducted to precisely explore the role that the National Police Service performs during public health emergencies with a focus on the Covid-19 pandemic in Mombasa County, Kenya. The study was guided by the following specific goals: to examine the National Police Service's roles during the Covid-19 pandemic, to identify the difficulties the police encountered in performing their duties, and to determine the most effective strategies for reducing those difficulties in Mombasa County. Contingency theory, the complexity of problem theory, and social disorganization theory were used in the study. The study used a descriptive survey with 530 police officers as the target population, and a sample size of 228 officers was determined using stratified random sampling and Yamane's formulas. To gather primary data for the study, structured questionnaires and key informant interviews been employed. With the help of SPSS version 24, descriptive statistics were utilized in analyzing the data. Descriptive statistics were expressed in terms of frequencies, means, and standard deviation. Throughout the research process, ethical consideration was taken into account. The results of this study will help National policy makers, particularly the Ministry of Health, understand how to work with local police during pandemic outbreaks like Covid-19. According to the study findings the police officers were involved in enforcing containment measures such as wearing of masks, enforcing public health regulation and curfews which were also widely used to curb the Covid-19. However, the study findings revealed that police faced a lot of challenges which included lack of important protective gears such as PPE, disposable gloves, particle respirators, and disposable coveralls and gowns, hostility from the community, lack of motivation and even becoming victims which in some case led to death. The study therefore recommends that police should be properly equipped with the right gear, properly trained to handle emergencies, be counseled, participate in community awareness and be motivated to enable them observe basic human rights during their duties to reduce hostility with the community.