Police transformation misinterpreted

Uhuru’s new Kenya police uniform

First, contrary to media reports, including social media posts, no police officer has been declared redundant; only the offices or positions that they occupied. In a bid to streamline coordination and also the command structure, bureaucracy from the top to the bottom ladder has been reduced.

When President Uhuru Kenyatta launched plans to transform the National Police Service last month, he was widely misunderstood by Kenyans in general, the police in particular and the media, whose role it is to translate that vision articulately.

Tom Kagwe JP a political scientist has written has written a commentary setting the record straight on police transformation reported by the star.

Tom Kagwe

Therefore, when newspapers or dailies headlines read that 300 police officers will be “axed”, the question is which officers and where is the media getting these stories. The declaration by the President, and as contained in the Policy Framework, the following positions were abolished: first, all offices occupied by Administration Police or Kenya Police commanders, serving alongside each other in the regions and the counties.

Second, all offices occupied in the ‘police divisions’, which were represented by the Officers’ Commanding Police Divisions. Third, district administrative commands served by the Administration Police.

In their stead, all these command centres will be led by one officer, serving the General Duty, under the command of the Deputy Inspector-General of the Kenya Police Service. In a nutshell, commanders in the 47 counties will be drawn from either Kenya Police or Administration Police.

Therefore, all police officers previously serving in those positions will be redeployed within the police, either at regional or national levels. Second, they will still retain the ranks they have. Indeed, ranks will be rationalized and re-arranged; everyone will fit within the new hierarchy of command.

The various media stories and posts on the policy have depicted the Administration Police Service as having been scrapped. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, what has happened is a harmonized command structure, from the previous confusion of command and accountability.

All commanders and officers serving in the police have been retained and will be reassigned and/or appointed from either service, especially for general duties or protective and border control, which will enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

Indeed, to streamline the reporting purposes, the Deputy Inspector-General of the Kenya Police will be responsible and accountable for all general duty staff or personnel, which has been renamed “Public Security and Safety”.

The Deputy Inspector-General of Administration Police will be in charge of the “Protective and Border Security” mandate, which is where most of the Administration Police, plus some Kenya Police, have been merged to deal with livestock theft, protection of critical government installations, not to mention the Rapid Deployment Unit, for border security.

Many media reports and posts have questioned the costs to be used to operationalize the Policy. Currently the ministry has a budget to take care of police housing, police uniforms and also other related costs of public safety and security, border control, and such other matters. It is this budget that will roll out this Policy, with very minimal additional costs generated from the National Treasury.

From the above point, which melts down to wastage of taxpayers’ money, duplication of duties and lack of efficiency, one can confidently argue that more resources will be ploughed from the costs saved from reduction in duplication that existed between these two Services.

Most of these resources are office spaces, motor vehicles, general office and specific stationery and also a host of other costs, which previously were incurred from double procurement of various items by both Services.

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