POLICE UNIFORMS SAGA

Senators demand probe into claims police officers ordered to buy own uniform

Police spokesman denied report officers asked to buy unfirms at own cost

In Summary

•The government and the leadership of the national police service have come under fire after revelations officers were asked to acquire uniforms at their own cost.

•Last week, National police service fought off reports some police officers in Nairobi had been asked to meet the cost of their uniforms.

Police march in their new uniform during the launch at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi on 13 September, 2018
Police march in their new uniform during the launch at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi on 13 September, 2018
Image: COURTESY

The government and the National Police Service top brass are under fire over revelations officers have been ordered to acquire the new uniforms at their own cost.

Senators on Thursday took on the Interior Ministry and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai over reports that officers were asked to buy the new uniforms from ‘any tailor in town.'

The lawmakers said the reports, now under investigations by a House committee, amounts to "a serious security threat".

“When you go around the city, the ordinary retailers are now making police uniforms. It is becoming a dangerous security threat because somebody can walk to a retailer and get a police uniform and wear it,” Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said.

Cherargei, while seeking a statement on controversies over the acquisition and distribution of the new dark blue uniform, demanded thorough investigations by the House Security Committee.

Last week, the National Police Service fought off reports some police officers in Nairobi had been asked to meet the cost of their uniforms.

It had been reported that Nairobi regional commander Rashid Yakub had directed the officers to make their own arrangements and secure the uniforms at their cost.

But police spokesman Charles Owino said all officers have been fully kitted with the deep blue uniform since it was adopted in 2018.

“We wish to state that Nairobi area police officers have been fully kitted with the deep blue working dress,” Owino said.

He explained that there are 6,000 and 2,000 male and female officers’ uniforms respectively awaiting collection at central stores.

Cherargei demanded the security committee chaired by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji to establish whether there is a Kenya police uniform policy guideline in place.

The lawmaker also wants the panel to find out if there is a circular indicating to the officers that they can buy the uniforms on their own and the recommended retailers.

“The committee should state whether the National Police Service has provided uniform allowance to the officers to enable them to purchase the uniforms on their own,” he said.

Further, the lawmaker wants to know whether the Ministry of Interior and the National Police Service has set a specific timeline on the change of police uniform.

“Provide a list of companies that were awarded with the tender for the supply of the new police uniforms in Kenya,” he said.

While contributing to the statement, Wajir Senator Abdullahi Ali said new police uniform issue has become a big problem and a matter of security concerns

“I am told now everybody can have it (uniform). Police have been told to purchase uniforms very urgently. So they can go anywhere they want. The way Kenyans are, they go can go anywhere they want, they can go to anybody’s house at the wee hours pretending to be police in uniform,” he said.

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot the fact that anybody ‘can walk to any tailor’ and get a uniform, coupled with the ‘culture of police officers not to display their identification numbers; are real security threats.

“The identity of a police officer is not only by police uniform. How do you identify a police officer yet it has become a culture of our police officers not to show their identification numbers nowadays?” he posed.

Edited by EKibii