New Kenya Law Ends Petty Offenders Jail Time

Petty Offenders

New National Police Service (NPS) Bail and Bond Charter set to protect petty offenders from being thrown behind bars been approved by the office of the Inspector General of Police

The Bail and Bond Charter was developed by the Bail and Bond Implementation Committee on the request of the National Council on Administrative Justice. According to the Charter, victims of minor offenses punishable by a fine and in extreme case a jail term of at most six months will not be remanded.

A report by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority revealed that 53% of arrest victims have experienced incidences of malpractices by police such as assault, falsification of evidence, bribery and threats of imprisonment over very petty offenses.

Mass arrests or swoops commonly known as ‘operations’ routinely conducted by law enforcement agencies targeting street families, low-income people, minority groups including women and refugees have been a popular strategy to raise revenue through fines and avenues to extort bribes.

Victims of ambushed police patrols for drunkenness and disorderliness, loitering around without a national identity card, drunk drivers who fail to pass the alcoblow test will not be arrested or forced to pay cash bail according to the new law.

“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” reads clause two of the chapter.

For suspects issued cash bail, they shall be given an official government receipt for the amount of cash bail which shall be refunded in full amount immediately if no charge is preferred against them, or surrender in court upon their first court appearance.

The NPS Director of Communication Charles Owino said this would help ease the overcrowded police stations while urging suspects to abide by the laws and to heed to summons by the court.

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