About 300 senior officers will be retired as the government implements major reforms in the structure, command, control and welfare of the National Police Service.
President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the changes at the Kenya School of Government yesterday.
Those to be affected are officers who are either due to retire or are past retirement age but have been serving on extended contracts. Because of last year's elections, some senior police officers got contract extensions and will now be asked to take leave pending retirement.
The NPS will also replace all police chiefs whose academic qualifications do not match their current positions. Those who have fake academic papers and have disciplinary records will also be axed as part of professionalising the service.
Yesterday, Kenyatta said the reforms are aimed at making the police a “service that is respected” rather than “a force that is feared”.
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.
To eliminate waste and duplication, 39,680 Kenya Police Service and 24,572 Administration Police officers will be integrated as general duty police officers under the command of the Deputy Inspector General Kenya Police Service.
Kenyatta made it clear that the reforms - ranging from changes in structure and command, integration of regular and Administration Police, change of uniform, re-branding of colleges to introduction of housing allowances for junior officers - are meant to make the police service more efficient.
To improve welfare, the officers will now be paid a house allowance to live in places of their choice.
“To solve the problem of housing of 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,” Kenyatta announced.
He said the reforms, which have now seen 12 senior police positions scrapped, are aimed at raising the morale of the security officers by improving their conditions of service.
And with a new-look Persian blue uniform, the face of the police has changed.
The functions of the regular police as well as those of the Administration Police have also been redefined in changes aimed at putting more boots on the ground as well as cut expenses.
Unlike in the past when AP officers were synonymous with chiefs and county commissioners, they will now be required to take part in more critical security work such as arrest and prosecution of criminals.
They will no longer take orders from chiefs and county administrators as most of them will be deployed to police stations. Their uniforms will also change.
They will now dress in similar uniforms as they join their regular police counterparts in police stations.
Noor Gabow, the DIG in charge of Administration Police, will superintend men and women whose core function will be to guard the boarders as well as key government buildings and infrastructure.
The functions of the AP service have been narrowed down to protective and border security as well as combating cattle rusting and banditry.
Under his command will be officers in the Rural Border Patrol Unit (RBPU) which has been renamed Border Police Unit.
More officers will be sent to this unit to double its numbers from the current 3,000 to 6,000 officers.
Gabow will also supervise another 8,000 officers under a new unit named Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU). The officers will guard government buildings and facilities such as railways.
The Gilgil-based anti-stock theft unit, which previously was under Edward Mbugua the DIG, has been moved to the APS. Officers from this unit will be combined with those from the Administration Police Stock Theft Prevention Unit and their numbers increased to 5,000.
The unit’s mandate shall be solely to deal with theft of livestock. The unit’s headquarters shall remain in Gilgil.
The mandate of Director of Criminal Investigations remains unchanged. The unit is currently headed by George Kinoti.
The command structure of police officers was also revised. Under the new administrative guidelines, there will be eight regional police commanders.
The regional commander will be in charge of all police officers and activities in the area of jurisdiction. He will supervise the county police commanders serving under him.
Under the county police commanders will be subcounty police commander previously known as OCPD.
The subcounty commander will supervise the station commanders serving under them while the station commanders will oversee all offices serving in the police stations and police posts.
Police officers will no longer be required to live in police lines or houses leased by the government.
The president directed that all leases of police houses be terminated as the officer’s start receiving the house allowances.
According to the new police guidelines, police officers serving in Nairobi will receive a monthly house allowance of Sh18,124 while those serving in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Meru and Uasin Gishu will be paid Sh 13,124. Officers serving in other counties will receive Sh8,124.
Kenyans yesterday strongly protested against the new police uniforms.
They questioned the process the government used to come up with the design and how they acquired the new uniform.
“Don't be fooled Kenyans. The change in Kenya Police uniform is another step towards Chinese colonisation. Kenyatta already sold us to the minions,” Gabriel Munyoki lamented on twitter.
Nairobi lawyer Donald Kipkorir tweeted that the uniforms were ugly, dull, old-fashioned and uninspiring.
“The beret is worse. They look like Salvation Army band,” Kipkorir said.