IG Approves New Law Banning Jailing of Petty Offenders

  • The office of the Inspector General of Police has approved the new National Police Service (NPS) Bail and Bond Charter, which seeks to save petty offenders from detention.

    According to the Charter, persons who fall victims to arbitrary swoops by police for being drunk and disorderly, loitering, being found without national identity card, and drunk drivers who fail alcoblow test will no longer be arrested or forced to pay cash bail.

    “We shall not remand you in custody for minor offenses, if the offense is punishable by a fine only or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months” Clause two of the Charter reads.

    Most traffic offenders, apart from those accused of serious offenses like causing death, will either be given free bonds or released unconditionally.

    Such offenders will instead be informed to appear in court, on convenient dates, after being issued with free police bonds.

    However, for other serious offences, police will promptly grant the offender reasonable bail terms regardless of the time of day or night.

    Clause seven of the Charter stipulates that in case where a suspect is issued with cash bail, it shall be availed to court or refunded to the suspect in a timely and expeditious manner

    The NPS Director of Communication Charles Owino noted that the move would help in decongesting the stations.

    At the same time, Owino urged suspects to honour the summons to appear in court, adding that the system would work even better where offenders could be informed of the fines and pay wherever they are.

    The Bail and Bond Charter was developed by the Bail and Bond Implementation Committee on the request of the National Council on Administrative Justice.

    Its directive has reportedly been communicated to all officers across the country and the National Police College commandant has also directed that the Charter be included in the training curriculum.

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