A new police unit has been formed to help preserve the highways and enforce traffic in the country and specifically overloading. The Axle Load Enforcement Unit will be directly under the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha).
The unit has received 27 senior officers – 11 Chief Inspectors and 16 inspectors to help in enforcing the law especially at major weighbridges. This was communicated in a circular that ordered the officers to report to the new stations by April 24. The unit will have 200 officers who were picked from police stations and formations across the country.
There are nine weighbridges on the national road network, which include Mariakani, Mtwapa, Athi River, Gilgil, Webuye, Rongo, Juja, Busia and Isinya.
The personnel alongside those of Kenha will among others roles establish the rate of consumption of the road asset, provide evidence for enforcement and prosecution of offenders of vehicle dimension, provide evidence for enforcement and prosecution of offenders of vehicle dimensions.
They will also advice on legal requirements related to vehicle weights and dimensions and ensure adherence to rules and guidelines on axle load control prescribed under the law. The formation of the unit was prompted by complaints that some regular and traffic police were colluding with transporters to sabotage the authority’s operations.
Kenha, which manages, rehabilitates and maintains national trunk roads, has been pushing for the formation of this unit the same way some institutions like the ports, railways, and airports have their police units.
According to the new rule, axle load measurement is applied per axle and not through the tare weight. The axle load rule has been adopted and legalised in the Kenya Roads Act 2007. In 2005, police formed the Highway Patrol Unit which was based at the Traffic headquarters.
With the formation of the National Transport and Safety Authority, the Highway Patrol Unit was neglected only to be revamped later in 2016 when additional 200 officers were deployed to the unit.
It was to ensure fast, secure and smooth movement of goods from Mombasa to Malaba border all the way to DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa. Drivers of heavy trucks using prohibited roads will be arrested and their vehicles impounded.
Police have been taking full control of law enforcement on roads after withdrawal of other agencies that were working alongside them.