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Pounce on criminals, don't wait for police, Lamu residents told.

The citizen's arrest law has officially been introduced in Lamu as a measure against increasing crime.

The law was announced days after a 35-year-old hotelier was slashed to death by a gang while on his way from work in Bombay area.

Jackson Wasi was killed at about 10pm last Saturday. Residents held demonstrations and marched to the county commissioner's office with the body, demanding explanation on rising insecurity.

Lamu county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo has now asked the public to promptly arrest criminals instead of waiting for police.

In an address to residents on Wednesday, Kitiyo said members of the public shouldn't hesitate to arrest anyone they feel is a danger, or anyone they find committing a crime.

The commissioner said his office was aware that offenders released on bond do not stop committing crimes.

He expressed "disgust" that courts are quick to release criminals on bond without dealing with the risks they pose.

'We are aware that criminals released on bond are the ones who come out and continue to terrorise people. From today, I am giving you the direct order to arrest any such criminals in your midst. Don't wait for the police. When you see them, pounce on them, arrest them and bring them to us."

A citizen's arrest is made by a person who is not a sworn law enforcement official.

The law is in section 24A of Police and Criminal Evidence Act, 1984 (PACE) and according to the law, anyone can arrest a person committing an indictable offence.

Citizens can also arrest someone if there are reasonable grounds to suspect they are committing an indictable offence.

An indictable offence can land a person in a Crown Court so it has to be a serious crime such as burglary or a violent offence.

But it may not be apparent whether the suspect's behavior amounts to an indictable offence so the situation needs to be assessed carefully.

Regarding the murder, Kitiyo said his office had made progress in investigations and that several suspects were arrested.

'The murder of the hotelier had nothing to do with tribe, religion or politics. It was a normal crime. We already have several suspects in our custody and are positive we shall get to the bottom of this matter."

He warned residents against carrying blunt objects saying this is a punishable crime.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Dec 13, 2017
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