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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Kenya NOT To Remove Pockets From Police Uniforms to Fight Corruption

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 13 Feb 2019 13:53:24 Z)

Are the police in Kenya getting new uniforms without pockets so they can't take bribes easily anymore? No, that's not true: the police force in Kenya just got new uniforms in September of 2018 (with pockets). Most articles claiming uniforms without pockets are coming do not cite any sources and seem to be mostly based on humorous comments made after the introduction of the current blue uniforms which said the pockets were made bigger to be able to accept more bribes.

The story went viral via an article published on February 7, 2019 by CelebritiesBuzz, a site from Ghana, titled "Kenya to remove pockets from police uniforms to fight corruption" (archived here) which read:

Reports have it that authorities in Kenya are planning to remove
pockets from police uniforms as part of President Kenyatta's
fight against corruption in the country.

The new set of police uniforms will have no pockets.
It is believed that the proposal, if implemented, would make it
difficult for Kenyan police officers who take bribes on the roads,
to keep the cash they collect.

However, sources within the Police Command say the officers will
resist any attempt to make their uniforms pocketless, because the
pockets also beautifies the total appearance of a police officer.

Screenshot of https://www.celebritiesbuzz.com.gh/kenya-to-remove-pockets-from-police-uniforms-to-fight-corruption/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Kenya to remove pockets from police uniforms to fight corruption

Reports have it that authorities in Kenya are planning to remove pockets from police uniforms as part of President Kenyatta's fight against corruption in the country. The new set of police uniforms will have no pockets. It is believed that the proposal, if implemented, would make it difficult for Kenyan police officers who take bribes ...

Note that the "sources" or "reports" are not named. The story itself seems to have appeared on several sites that apparently all copied it from each other:

Kenya to remove pockets from police uniforms to fight corruption - Juba TV

Reports have it that authorities in Kenya are planning to remove pockets from police uniforms as part of President Kenyatta's fight against corruption in the country. Kiir promises not to let down S. Sudanese The new set of police uniforms will have no pockets. It is believed that the proposal, if implemented, would make it ...

Kenya to remove pockets from police uniforms to fight corruption

Reports have it that authorities in Kenya are planning to remove pockets from police uniforms as part of President Kenyatta's fight against corruption in the country. The new set of police uniforms will have no pockets. It is believed that the proposal, if implemented, would make it difficult for Kenyan police officers who take bribes on the roads, to keep the cash they collect.

Kenya to remove pockets from police uniforms to fight corruption

The new set of police uniforms will have no pockets. It is believed that the proposal, if implemented, would make itdifficult for Kenyan police officers who take bribes on the roads,to keep the cash they collect.

Kenya to remove pockets from police uniforms to fight corruption - AFRIKAN DAILY

Reports have it that authorities in Kenya are planning to remove pockets from police uniforms as part of President Kenyatta's fight against corruption in the country. The new set of police uniforms will have no pockets. It is believed that the proposal, if implemented, would make it difficult for Kenyan police officers who take bribes ...

Several sources claimed Afrikan Daily was the source but it appears the Hivipunde article was earier (February 4, 2019).

The story went viral and appeared on Reddit and even on the radio in Belgium (at the 6:30 mark) at one point.

However we found no trace of the "news" on the official website of the Kenyan police:

National Police Service

The National Police Service (NPS) has unveiled Standard Operating Procedures for the prevention and response to Gender Based Violence. Inspector General Joseph Boinnet who yesterday launched the document described the uniform approach in the prevention of Gender Based Violence, as a significant milestone towards transforming the Police to provide people centred policing service.

We also found no trace of the story in mainstream media sources from Kenya, although we did find plenty of reports about the new uniforms issued to police in September of 2018:

New police uniform: Kenyans take issue - PHOTOS & VIDEO

Friday September 14 2018 In Summary For Nicholas Amokoh, "too many" pockets are the biggest problem with the new uniform. He believes these 'bags' will not help the corruption problem in the police force. Kenya Police have for the past four years topped Transparency International's corruption perception index despite efforts to stop the vice.

That story contained this quote:

The Kenyans praising the new outfit like the former senator, however, were few and far apart in Twitter and Facebook conversations.

The criticism was intense and widespread, even crossing Kenyan borders.

Tanzanians online, for instance, had a field day on Thursday poking fun at Kenyans after Mr Kenyatta unveiled the new uniform.

It all started when BBC Swahili asked its followers to comment on the new uniforms with a majority of those commenting being Tanzanians.

They made fun of not only the colour but also the design of the jackets, whose large pockets, they said, were ideal for stashing cash collected from bribes.

So it seems like someone took the criticism and turned it into a satire article or a joke which then got spread around as real news by other sites copying the story.

We have asked the Kenyan police for a comment but did not receive a reply in time for publication, this article will be updated if we receive one.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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