Journey to better cop welfare, service

A protester is rounded by anti-riot police officers during an anti-corruption demonstration at Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, in the wake of the Sh5.3 billion Health ministry scandal, November 3, 2016. /PATRICK VIDIJA
A protester is rounded by anti-riot police officers during an anti-corruption demonstration at Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, in the wake of the Sh5.3 billion Health ministry scandal, November 3, 2016. /PATRICK VIDIJA

Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and the IG Joseph Boinett have started implementing the much-awaited National Police Service Reforms.

This includes digitisation of police services, introduction of police service week, new uniform, change of command structure and integration of police officers with members of the public.

Other reforms include improving the welfare of the servicemen and women and of cause not forgetting the issue of salary.

Below is an outline of the reforms.

BLUE UNIFORM

A team of security officials under the umbrella of Uniform Committee met at least seven times to decide the new colour to be adopted by the service.

The team, chaired by outgoing Vice Chief of Kenya Defence Forces Joseph Kasaon, consisted of mostly officials from security agencies. It arrived at the deep blue colour as the one to be adopted as the working uniform by the General Duty Police.

Other members who sat in the meeting were a representative from National Police Service, Kenya Prisons Service, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service and National Youth Service.

Explaining the team’s work, a senior officer told the Star: “The Uniform Committee arrived at the new outfit after comparing what other regional and local security agencies wear as their uniform. It was not a one-off decision. Much was considered and it will take at least two years to change.”

Initially, those who served under the Kenya Police were identified with their sky blue shirts with navy blue bottoms, while their AP counterparts were known for their khaki suit with maroon sweaters.

However, under the reforms, both colours have been dropped and the servicemen will be unified by the deep blue suit.

While unveiling the uniform in September last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the uniforms will enhance visibility of the officers.

In December, Matiang’i said Treasury has released funds and procurement is ongoing.

He said the uniforms will be knitted locally by the National Youth Service, amid efforts to add value to locally made products.

SALARY INCREASE

Underpayment and poor housing has left Kenyan police vulnerable to corruption and crime. They consistently rank among the most corrupt institutions in the country.

A salary review will depend on the constitution of a National Police Service Commission, which is mandated to determine how much the officers should get.

A new commission is yet to be formed since the one led by Johnston Kavuludi ended its term.

Head of corporate affairs Patrick Odongo says the reforms will be an exercise in futility if the salary gaps are not looked at.

NEW COMMAND STRUCTURE

The service has already rolled out a new command structure and named new regional police commanders and some 46 county commanders.

They are Marcus Ochola (Coast), Eunice Kihiko (Eastern), Judy Lanet (Central), Philip Ndolo (Nairobi), Edward Mwamburui (Rift Valley), Paul Soi (Northeastern), Vincent Makhoha (Nyanza) and Rashid Yakub (Western).

While naming the commanders, Boinnet said the current regional police commanders from Kenya Police and those from Administration Police have been recalled and redeployed in the National Police Service.

DIGITAL HR SYSTEM

Early last month, the service launched its Digital Human Resource Information System, amid efforts to digitise its operations.

The launch has seen the service digitise its administrative procedures, the Occurrence Book and the Crime Management System.

Interior CS Fred Matiangi said the system will bear accurate, real-time data on each officer, including their recruitment, training, career progress, deployment, family records, and other related information.

He said the system will further enhance the ability of the National Police Service to share local information and intelligence in the security fraternity on a national and international scale.

Matiang’i said the system supports the selection, recruitment and management of police officers, deployment, performance appraisals, merit-based promotions and transparent transfers.