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Etiquette of Dealing with Police in Kenya | Blog

Life Style

For most of us, every time we see the infamous men in blue, our hearts skip a beat. “What is it going to be now?” we think to ourselves as we run through the list of possibilities in our minds “Are my lights working? Are my tires in good condition? Did I miss a no U-turn?” In Kenya the sight of a police officer puts fear in our hearts rather than comfort that they are protecting us. And like predators, they can sense the fear and grasp it to their advantage. “Si utoe kitu kidogo?”

We always complain about how corrupt and ruthless they are but let us take a step back and try to imagine being in their shoes. They stand in the sun and dust for long hours in a day, dealing with arrogant, unappreciative Kenyans. They risk their live for a meagre pay and their hearts skip a beat every time they see a white probox with tinted windows. So we could either: all buy white proboxes and have the effect be a two-way thing or we could be proactive with the following etiquette:
Smile! It’s your buddy!
When they first show up at the window, smile, give them a nice firm handshake and be as friendly to them as possible. Ask them how their day is going. Pretend this is your great buddy that you haven’t seen for a couple of months.  
Be Proactive
As we said before, they have been standing there for hours in the sun and dust, so have a bottle of water, juice or soda (one of two favorite police drinks) and offer it to them. If you can keep it cool by leaving it under your seat that would be even better. Just remember, no rash movements, tell them you’re getting water or a drink. Of course, do not be too obvious or direct about it, it’ll seem desperate. Think courting.  
Be Creative

By this point if you have done one and two, the police should already be smiling ear to ear. Remember that they simply do not get this kind of treatment. Just in case you did not have water or something to give in the car. Park your car by the road side and if there’s a store or café nearby walk to it and get the police’s second favorite drink: chai. If you can get a cookie or croissant to go with, awesome!  
Be Polite & Courteous

By this point, they are smothered with gifts and in a feel good mood, you can now begin ending the conversation. If you’re lucky, it will end there, if unlucky, well, you tried your best. Still, remain courteous and polite so as to ensure your kindness comes across as genuine, it was, wasn’t it?  
Plan Ahead
Next time you go shopping, think about your friendly police officer and what you can get him or her to make their life better. They are constants in our lives and we will continue to meet them, might as well make the most of the situation. In addition, work with your neighbours to provide for the police in your area and meet them on a one to one basis. If you know the route you use will have cops, by them chai and give it to them one day a month, create a rapport. Too bad we don’t have dunkin donuts in Kenya otherwise we could’ve pulled a fluffy: 

photo credit: henribergius via photopin cc


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