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No more police cells for drunkenness and petty offences.

The Inspector General of Police has approved The Bail and Bond Charter that stipulates that noone should be arrested, put in custody (police cells) or forced to pay cash bail if they have committed petty offences punishable by a only fine or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.

This means that the police will no longer arrest anyone found drunk and disorderly, loitering, being found without national identity card which has been common with uniformed officers who conduct arbitrary swoops in a bid to extort money from innocent wananchi.

Besides freeing the petty offenders who have been turned into “petty cash” sources for some officers, the guidelines will also decongest police cells, prisons and remand institutions currently choking with such individuals — and reduce extortionist swoops.

Most traffic offenders, apart from those accused of serious offences like causing death, will either be given free bonds or released unconditionally. They will instead be informed to appear in court, on convenient dates, after being issued with free police bonds.

The new charter was developed by the Bail and Bond Implementation Committee on the request of the National Council on Administrative Justice.

In case a suspect is issued with cash bail, it shall be availed to court or refunded to the suspect in a timely and expeditious manner.

“We shall refund the full cash bail amount to you immediately if no charge is preferred against you, or surrender to you in court upon your first court appearance,” Clause 7 of the charter reads.

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