Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) has been busy building the capacity of Traffic Police in Kenya to more effectively enforce the use of helmets and to reduce travel speeds. This activity is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the Road Safety in 10 Countries programme (RS10).
Together with huge issues related to over-speeding by all motorists, Kenya currently has an unacceptable helmet wearing rate. Motorcycles are extensively used as a means of transport, including the transportation of young people to and from school. Clearly, urgent attention to the risk factors of speeding and helmet use is required to reduce fatalities and serious injuries of motorcyclists and their passengers.
August 15, 2012 saw GRSP commence strategic training interventions with the Kenya Traffic Police Division. The first of the four planned programmes was attended by the 20 most senior officers in Nairobi and opened by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Commandant Benson Kubui Githinji (seen left presenting officers with Certificates of Completion). In his opening statements, Commandant Githinji stressed the importance of the role the Kenyan Traffic Police have to play in addressing the two identified traffic issues of helmet use and speeding.
The initial training modules were specifically designed for the top management of the Traffic Police, and were followed with training in the field (seen right). The senior officers committed themselves fully to the development of a strategic plan for road safety within Kenya and were very positive about the training programme. It is expected that a structured strategic enforcement plan with specific time frames and intervention points for enforcing helmet wearing will be finalised soon.
Helmet use enforcement programmes require careful planning, and need to be timed to integrate with other related programmes such as advocacy, publicity and education. Such enforcement programmes mostly impact upon the poorer sections of the community, which often precipitates moral issues for law enforcement personnel as they understand how difficult it is for many to afford helmets. Enforcement therefore, must be the last of the planned interventions.
The second round of training programmes will focus on the provincial traffic law enforcement managers and is scheduled for September 2012. Involving primarily operational staff, this second round of training will address practical policing issues such as road block procedures and safety at check points.
The municipal areas of Thika and Naivasha are the focus of the RS10 GRSP programme in Kenya.