Insecurity an Issue in Kibera

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INTRODUCTION

1. SECURITY AN ISSUE IN KIBERA

“There can be no security without development and no development without security, and neither can be sustained in the long term without being rooted in the rule of law and respect for human rights.” (Former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan) [1]

There is increasing recognition that without security there can be no development. Insecurity hinders socio-economic growth in different ways: threats to physical security, the absence of safe living environments, dangers that prevent people from achieving sustainable livelihoods, and the impact upon health and education services. As one of the main providers of security, the police play a vital role in creating the conditions in which development can take place. However, all too often those who are most affected by insecurity have little opportunity to engage constructively with the police. This can result in feelings of mistrust between the police and the communities they serve.

2. COMMUNITY BASED POLICING (CONCEPT)
Community-based policing (CBP) is an approach to policing that brings together the police, civil society and local communities to develop local solutions to local safety and security concerns. This helps to improve community safety, reduce crime and the fear of crime, enhance access to justice and create more peaceful communities. Community Based Policing , whilst a policing style, is also an attitude of mind, both for the police and for the public. It involves a profound shift in police and community thinking about policing.

In Kenya, police reform is a critical issue not only for community safety and economic development, but because there is intense popular demand for reduced crime and better police performance.

3. KIBERA
Situated to the south-west of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, Kibera is one of the largest slum dwellings in Africa with an estimated population of 900,000 who suffer some of the worst living conditions of any urban community. There is very limited access to basic services such as health, water and education for Kibera residents, who come from every corner of Kenya in search of employment and a better life. Poverty forces many of Kibera´s youth to engage in petty crime to supplement their household’s income.

Although there is a strong sense of community – many people settle in villages made up of members from their own ethnic communities – external factors can create tensions between these different communities, leading to increased insecurity, vulnerability and violence. However, the main causes of crime are the economic and social conditions in Kibera. The rapid growth of the population has put pressure on resources like food, shelter and water and people are forced to compete to meet their basic needs.

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4. PILOTING COMMUNITY- BASED POLICING IN KIBERA
Consultations with the local community (including members from the business community, religious leaders, tenants and landlords) and local police produced a detailed analysis of the factors fuelling crime and insecurity in the area. These were identified as poverty, a lack of employment opportunities, breakdown of social relations and anger related to living conditions.

5. STEPS IN ADRESSING SECURITY ISSUES IN KIBERA
According to Tearfund, (2005), [2] the steps in community participation is as follows:- a) Awareness- raising:
The aim is to help communities understand the idea of community policing. Raising people’s awareness will help people to:- • Understand what is happening in their village and surrounding district. • Understand that preventing crime is useful and worthwhile. • Begin to have a clear sense of ownership of their resources so that they improve their own security. • Understand that the community is responsible for security and organising activities. • Understand the different roles of security committees, the police and community members themselves....
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