The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) will be investigating a number of domestic violence issues against police officers if its newly proposed regulations are enacted.
According to the recommendations in our possession, the issues include, among others, forced wife inheritance, stalking, sexual violence within marriage, virginity testing, and interference from in-laws.
Article 64 (2)(a) of the proposal states that; “violence means abuse that includes child marriage, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced wife inheritance, interference from in-laws, sexual violence within marriage, virginity testing; and widow or widower cleansing.”
The proposed amendments, dubbed The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (General Operations) Regulations, 2022, seek to expand the mandate of IPOA in dealing with complaints against police officers.
According to the regulations, an officer is deemed to be in a domestic relationship with another person if they are married, were previously married, living in the same household, are a family member, or have a child together.
The amendment also provides for reconciliation and mediation of any matter within IPOA’s mandate.
“The Board or a designated officer may, in writing, advise the parties to a complaint that the dispute may be best resolved through mediation or reconciliation. At the conclusion of the mediation or reconciliation process, both parties shall sign a mediation and reconciliation agreement bearing the common seal of the Authority,” Section 93 of the proposed law states.
The regulations also propose that IPOA will monitor, review or audit investigations and action by the police’s Internal Affairs Unit (IAU).
The scope of monitoring will include assessing the nature of complaints, the number of complaints lodged, how investigations are conducted, and the frequency and trends of complaints.
IPOA will also undertake routine and impromptu monitoring of IAU.
IPOA may, on concluding monitoring, review investigations and actions by the IAU recommend take-over of ongoing internal investigations, or alter, vary, modify or revise a decision made by the IAU.
Other abuses under section 64 of the regulations includedamage to property, economic abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, verbal abuse, incest, and harassment.