Reimagining police engagement? Kenya National Police Service on social media

Maggie Dwyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Official police use of social media for public engagement is a relatively new phenomenon on the African continent and the Kenya National Police Service (NPS) is at the forefront of this trend. Drawing on a combination of interviews, focus groups, policy documents, and social media data, this article explores the NPS’s motivations and goals in using social media. It also highlights many of the challenges they have faced in implementing their strategy. The research finds that while the use of social media in policing aims to decentralise police communication efforts, in Kenya is has recentralized them. Furthermore, instead of reforming the way the police and public interact, it often serves to reinforce existing practices. While social media does not yet seem to be revolutionising the way the police engage with the public in Kenya, there are indications that the public is receptive to police social media accounts. In an environment where there is little trust in the police, this openness to engagement is considered an encouraging achievement within the NPS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-776
Number of pages17
JournalPolicing and Society
Issue number7
Early online date27 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Kenya
  • social media
  • community policing
  • Twitter


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