The National Crime Research Centre (NCRC) is a State Corporation under the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice. It came into existence by an Act of Parliament, the National Crime Research Act (1997 CAP 62 Laws of Kenya).
The law mandates the Centre to:
- carry out research into the causes of crime,
- carry out research on how to prevent crime, and
- to disseminate the research findings and recommendations to Government Agencies concerned with the administration of criminal justice, NCRC’s stakeholders and the public.
The establishment of NCRC is in line with the International best practice, according to NCRC’s website. It states that research has provided critical information on what works to impact on crime and disorder. Research has also helped to generate programmes that can assist criminal justice agencies.
The Functions of The National Crime Research Centre
The functions of the Centre are in Section 5 of the National Crime Research Act. To meet its objectives, the National Crime Research Centre should perform the following functions.
The Centre should carry out coordinated research into, and evaluate the impact of, programmes pursued by the agencies responsible for the administration of criminal justice.
The Centre should also collate (collect and combine) all data relating to crime.
The National Crime Research Centre should carry out research into any criminal activity and in particular-
- the causes of crime and how to prevent it;
- crimes related to group or culture;
- socio-political and economic causes of criminal behaviour including drug trafficking, peddling or addiction;
- The way the persons engaged in any criminal activity operate;
- juvenile delinquency;
The Centre should carry out research into deviations from the criminal justice system. The Centre should aim at increasing the awareness and responsibility of the community in the rehabilitation of criminal offenders.
It should carry out research into the efficacy and adequacy of criminal investigation and prosecution agencies, the panel system, and the treatment of criminal offenders;
It should disseminate its research findings through publications, seminars, the mass media, and other appropriate means of dissemination.
The Centre should communicate its research findings and recommendations to the agencies of Government concerned with the administration of criminal justice. This will assist them in formulating their policies and planning;
Lastly, the Centre should liaise with any other research bodies within or outside Kenya engaged in the pursuit of similar or related research.
Background information on the Centre
The government recognized the need for research and a database on crime. This resulted from crime posing a serious threat. The then Attorney General Amos Wako came up with an idea of setting up a National Crime Research Centre (NCRC).
The overriding objective of the Centre would be to carry out research into the causes of crime and its prevention. It would also disseminate research findings to Government Agencies charged with the administration of criminal justice. This would assist them in their process of formulating policies and planning.
Mr Wako shared the idea with a visiting Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) official. Japan had experienced similar problems before establishing a criminal research centre. The 1994-1996 National Development Plan captured the commitment to establish the centre afterwards.
The Attorney General later went ahead and set up an inter-ministerial committee. The committee comprised of representatives from the Police, Prisons, Probation Services, Judiciary, and the Office of the Attorney General. Its purpose was to explore ways and means of setting up a crime research centre.
The State Law Office provided secretarial support. This included technical input from Planning, Human Resource and Administrative Departments to the Committee.
The output of the Committee was a Background Research Paper, a Draft Cabinet Memo and a Draft Bill, The National Crime Research Centre Bill (1993). These efforts led to Parliament passing the National Crime Research Act No. 4 of 1997. The Act provides the legal framework for establishing the Centre.
For more about the National Crime Research Centre, visit their website at crimeresearch.go.ke.