Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Hosts Its 7th Annual Criminology and Criminal Justice Conference

By Terry Odhiambo

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice hosted its seventh annual conference-themed "Protect and Serve: Promoting Better Policing through Shared Best Practices." The 1st hybrid conference attracted over 80 physical and online attendees ranging from students, academics, and practitioners who shared cutting-edge research on policing from different parts of the world. This cross-cultural and interdisciplinary dialogue helped enrich the global understanding of criminology and criminal justice practices. The conference’s main objective was to bring academics, students, and practitioners together to discuss key issues in criminal justice and law enforcement.

Two esteemed keynote speakers graced the conference; Mr. Japheth Koome, EBS, Inspector General, National Police Service, represented by Dr. Resila Onyango, National Police Service Spokesperson, and Mr. Elema Halake, CEO of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA). Dr. Resila Onyango, representing the Inspector General of the National Police, provided significant perspectives on the existing condition of law enforcement in Kenya and the efforts underway to improve service provision and strategies for crime prevention.

Mr. Elema Halake, the Director of IPOA (Independent Policing Oversight Authority), shared essential information about IPOA's role in overseeing and ensuring accountability within the police service. His detailed explanation of IPOA's responsibilities, such as investigating police officers' conduct and promoting police welfare, gave attendees a comprehensive understanding of the agency's efforts to enhance police-citizen trust and improve law enforcement practices.

These distinguished keynote presenters undoubtedly added depth and authority to the conference's discussions, making it an important platform for advancing knowledge and promoting better policing practices in Kenya. The engagement of students, academics, and practitioners with these key figures in the criminal justice system is a valuable opportunity for all involved.

As part of mentoring students, two special panels were constituted for Criminal Justice Students who shared their research with the participants. Participants enriched their papers by responding to critical questions and providing guidance on improvement. A Special Panel of Criminal Justice Practitioners also shared best practices and areas of improvement in policing sector in Kenya, contributing to the ongoing efforts to promote better policing practices in the country. Some notable organizations and agencies that participated in the conference are Amnesty International -Kenya, Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), Probation and After Care Department, and the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

This conference reflects the Department’s and the University’s continued commitment to quality research and scholarship. The papers presented at this conference will be published in January 2024 Special Issue of the recently launched Africa Journal for Crime and Justice.

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