The Kenya Police Service has been compelled to inform members of the public what the law says about the contentious issue of traffic police officers entering private vehicles in the cause of their work.
The service made the clarification on Monday via social media in the wake of a viral video showing a motorist in a heated exchange with two police officers who had entered his car.
In the video, the motorist, who appears to be a taxi hailing app driver, is seen ordering the two female officers out of his vehicle, while recording the incident using his cellphone camera.
Also captured in the video is a passenger calmly seated on the back seat, seemingly oblivious of the heated exchange between the driver and the two officers
The video sparked off an online debate on the often asked question on whether it’s lawful for traffic police officers to enter vehicle of a traffic offender.
But according to the Traffic Act (CAP 403), any police officer in uniform is allowed to stop any vehicle, and for any police officer, licensing officer or inspector to enter any vehicle, to drive any vehicle or cause any vehicle to driven for the purpose of carrying out any examination and test of the vehicle.
1/— Kenya Police Service (@PoliceKE) May 20, 2019
Traffic Act (CAP 403) https://t.co/MNKbgfsrxS
105. Inspection of vehicles
(1) It shall be lawful for any police officer in uniform to stop any vehicle, and for any police officer, licensing officer or inspector—
(a)to enter any vehicle; @Ma3Route pic.twitter.com/esiEaMixiH
The Act also states that it is lawful for police officers, upon reasonable suspicion of any offense under the Act, to order and require the owner of any vehicle to bring the vehicle to him.
It further states that any person who fails to comply with any instructions given under this section shall be guilty of an offense and liable on a first conviction, to a fine not exceeding thirty thousand shillings, and for a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term of one year.
However, all police officers in uniform are required to affix their name tags or identifiable service number in a clearly visible part of the uniform to make it easy for the public to know who they are dealing with and to identify them if indeed they are officers.