Underpaid, Unappreciated and Forgotten: Our Police

Lady Justice can not help it and loses her composure. She unveils her eye(s) in awe that justice could be lacking to such a degree that it becomes difficult to define it and its role. Furthermore, people lose hope in systems and revert to our ancestral way- restorative justice- a good form of justice. But again, without a clear system, the people resort to destructive forms of mob justice. Quietly common is also passive justice. Passive through simply claiming your own justice by showcasing nonchalance to the system to appease your existence (maybe this is where I was).

My “weakness” in story telling is starting backwards but it works for me, and hopefully for my readers?

I want to begin by saying how hopeful I feel in seeing all the  (peaceful and fearless) industrial action taking place in Nairobi, where I am. People have finally realized the power of the masses as portrayed to us through the lives of people like Gandhi. It was truly about time. Our teachers, our doctors, our lecturers- the people who progress the society need to be recognized, appreciated, and compensated accordingly. It has a ripple effect. Do you expect a hungry doctor to treat you well? Far worse, when he recalls the seven and more years (s)he devoted to studying the subject, paid by loans.

But, here’s the hitch, Police CAN NOT engage in industrial action. They are legally prohibited from doing so. Besides them being on duty to moderate the other ongoing actions, there are seemingly obvious reasons that would not be a good idea.

How many police do we come across in a day: at the shopping complex, the highway, at events: we call on them, we need them, but we also neglect the fact that we do.

I often here people say they avoid routes with too many police. Perhaps I am foolish, but those are the routes I prefer. I do not otherwise feel safe. When they stop me, I start with a (genuine) greeting, “Hello officer, how are the roads today?” Wow, goes the officer, this person cares how I am. And of course in reciprocity, they treat you well.

We blame the police, but we forget our own attitudes toward them, we forget that they need us to stand up for them, that we need them to stand up for us.

Can you imagine, what they go through on a daily basis? Rude people, horrific accident scenes and crimes that leave them traumatized. Inadequate support when trying to resolve a case (the straight bribe-free way). These forgotten people, start behaving forgotten. “If the system and the people do not care, then I will need to care for myself.” There starts the bribes, the organized crime and the list goes on. Unfortunately, there are many rotten eggs in the tray, but there is good reason why it all turned out like that, and there is good reason it should and can be repaired.

One police officer shared with me that in their career of a couple of years they were transferred over 50 times; they barely saw their families. In one incident where they got shot at least six times (and survived), the government offered no compensation for the medical bills, other than what NHIF made available- not equivalent to even a third of the bill.

As a woman, I gave further thought to the female police. As woman as any other woman, but strong enough to devote her life to this public service.

We will never change the world, if we do not start with ourselves. No matter how angry we may be with our systems and our own people. I have taken the lesson to heart.

One officer left me with a thought I want to throw out there as I close this post, “have you ever visited your local police station, got to know the officers there, asked how they are doing, taken a flask of tea?”

“Love promotes wisdom, for wisdom teaches man to love.  The layers of mortal creation, builded ignorantly in each lifestream, darken man’s concept of the justice of Universal Love.  Out of the depths of mortal ignorance men cry, “There is no God,” and echoing back into their ears is the piping futility of their vain cry … They ask themselves not “Is God dead?” but “Is justice dead?” and “Where is reality, purity, and the fixed, immovable quality of a law that can be depended upon?” ” Vol. 10 No. 8 – Portia, Goddess of Justice – February 19, 1967

6 thoughts on “Underpaid, Unappreciated and Forgotten: Our Police

  1. jcniala says:

    I have actually been to my local police station and asked after and engaged with them. It’s an important point you raise and one we do not think about enough. Until we all recognise our common humanity – we will remain an unsustainable and divided society.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pschebalmconsult says:

    Katya thanks for this thought provoking write up. Police everywhere especially African Police are exactly the way you put it : underpaid, neglected and unappreciated. But I am wondering if you will not be arrested for attempting to “poison” them with unsolicited flask of tea…

    Liked by 1 person

    • byawoman says:

      Maybe no tea on the first visit? Anyhow, I say that in humour. The idea is to build a relationship based on mutual support and TRUST- whichever way you find most constructive. And do share your ideas with us! Thank you for the comment.


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