by David Karani
President Uhuru Kenyatta today enacted major reforms in the structure, command, control and welfare of the National Police Service.
The Administration Police Service has been abolished and its officers merged with the Kenya Police Service under the command of the deputy Inspector General, Kenya Police Service.
“That will give us a total of 64,252 Police Service General-duty Police, given the unified command we can expect better security for Kenyans,” said the President.
The President further said the Deputy Inspector General, Kenya Police Service will now focus on public safety and security while the Deputy Inspector General Administration Police Service will focus on protective and border security as well as combating cattle rustling and banditry.
In the new dispensation, the Deputy IG APS will be in charge of the Border Police Unit, currently known as the Rural Border Patrol Unit, whose core role will be dealing with transnational threats. The unit will be composed of 6,000 officers.
The Deputy IG APS will also be in charge of a new unit that will integrate the Security of Government Buildings (SGB) and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU) which will have a total of 13,053 officers.
The Deputy IG APS will also be in charge of a new unit that will bring together the Kenya Police Service Anti-Stock Theft Unit and the Administration Police Stock Theft Prevention Unit and its strength will be raised to 5,000 officers.
The President unveiled a unified police command as follows;
(i) One Regional Police Commander (RPC),
(ii) One County Police Commander (CPC)
(iii) One Sub County Police Commander (SPC), and
(iv) Officer Commanding Police Station (OCS)/Ward Commander in charge of a Police Station and its Posts/ Patrol Bases.
Speaking when he received a task force report on police reforms at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi today, President Kenyatta said the reforms are aimed at making the police a “service that is respected” rather than “a force that is feared”.
The report prepared by the taskforce headed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i spells out an array of measures to unify the Kenya Police and the Kenya Administration Police formations.
The Head of State made it clear that the reforms, ranging from the changes in structure and command, integration of Regular and Administration Police, change of uniform, rebranding of colleges, introduction of housing allowances for junior officers, are meant to make the police force more efficient.
The reforms will put smiles on police officers, especially those in the lower ranks, who have traditionally lived in congested houses with no option of living in houses of their choice.
The officers will now be paid house allowance and will live in places of their choice.
“To solve the problem of housing police and prisons officers, and to better integrate them with the Kenyans they serve, the policy of mandatory and free housing for junior officers in institutional houses is hereby abolished. Instead, house allowances for all ranks of these officers will be provided,” said the Head of State.
President Kenyatta ordered the National Treasury to factor in the new allowances in the supplementary budget.
The Head of State said the reforms are aimed at raising the morale of the security officers by improving their conditions of service.
“They (reforms) will clarify and simplify command and control, increase both accountability and performance and they will make the police more than equal to the threats that face our nation,” said the President Kenyatta at the meeting attended by all senior police officers.
The President said the reforms he unveiled were the culmination of the transformations he started when the Jubilee Government took office in 2013.
“When I took office in 2013 the National Police Service budget was slightly over Sh50 billion, today we have almost doubled the allocation to almost Sh100 billion tangibly demonstrating our commitment to the reform agenda,” said the President.
He said the police service today has more than 5,000 vehicles in service to increase police mobility and response.
The President also cited the other milestones like the command and control centre in Nairobi and Mombasa as well as the increased number of police officers.