Police reforms, 4 years later

August 27, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 27 – For the last five months, the Kenya Police has been carrying out an internal audit of its own strategic plan that ended in March this year.

The Strategic plan 2004-2008 had detailed a 4-year roadmap to a better-equipped and service-oriented police force.

It sought to achieve a police to public ratio of 1:450 as recommended by the United Nations (UN) from the current 1:1100 through a double entry programme.

The strategy also aimed to provide 4000 new housing units for police officers who had previously been forced to share small houses.

The strategic plan was also aimed at substantially improving remuneration for officers of all ranks, minimising crime rates and reducing the response time.

Among the challenges identified in the 4-year roadmap included the lack of human resources management policy.
It also identified lack of autonomy in the office of the Police Commissioner as another major challenge facing the force.
The strategic plan called for the establishment of an autonomous Police Commissioner’s office who will be entitled to security of tenure, an issue that seems far from being implemented.
“Reforms in the police force are ultimately aimed at contributing to national stability,” the plan states in part.

Some of the key targets stipulated in the document included:
     A more customer-focused  service
    The  highest possible level of efficiency and  effectiveness
    Integrity, impartiality  and respect  of all citizens
    Professionalism in service delivery
    A diverse workforce representative of all service professions
    Consistent and effective  use of science and technology as an ability to work in partnership with other agencies  contributing to community and public  safety and
    Attractive terms and conditions of work.
A preview of the internal audit has revealed that only a fraction of the targets had been realised.

Actually, none of the goals has been realised fully; some elements need completion.

On the recruitment, for example, the department is still far from closing the gap as outlined by the international standards.

Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe says this will only improve once the double-entry programme is operational.

Until early this year, the Kiganjo police college has only admitted recruits once a year. Now the college has partnered with the National Youth Service (NYS) and is admitting the NYS graduates for a shorter (3 months) course.

This double annual recruitment has boosted the confidence of the Spokesman. “We are certainly moving there, we will have to achieve the recommended ratio,” he said.

On the housing project, Capital News has established that none of the units that have been under construction for the past four years has been completed.

“This problem of housing is still there. I have been sharing houses with three colleagues for more than three years now. Nothing has changed,” a police officer at Kamukunji police station, said.

 When we put this question to the Police Spokesman, he said; “We have managed to put up over 4000 houses and this is indeed an achievement.”

Kiraithe however, admits that many of the housing projects are yet to be completed.

“We have made great achievements, in almost all the areas we were targeting. Look at crime for instance, it has reduced to 13 per cent, thanks to the successful community policing project,” he said.

Members of the public interviewed by Capital News beat are divided on this issue.

While some agree that crime rates in the country have significantly reduced, many hold the view that crime is still high.

“How can they (police) claim to have recorded a remarkable reduction in the crime rates yet we hear of carjacking and robberies every day. What statistics are they talking about here?” Kenneth Mwangi, a resident of Nairobi posed.

Another key factor in the strategic plan, which the police say has been implemented, is the purchase of 400 new vehicles.

Many of these patrol vehicles were purchased through the GJLOS programme – a government initiative for reforms in the governance, justice, law and order sectors.

Kiraithe owes the success of the police operations to the increased resources.

“Today, we have at least a vehicle or two in each and every police station in the country. Although we still need more, we have made strides since we acquired them,” he said.

Kiraithe cites lack of sufficient funds as the major constraint that faced the department in implementing the strategic plan.

Last month, police officers were awarded a 10 percent pay increase inline with the strategic plan.

The implementation that was effected in July entitled the lowest earning officer to Sh11, 010 from the previous Sh 10,000.

The pay was backdated to January 2008.

Officers holding the rank of a Corporal now take home Sh14, 370 up from Sh12, 876, with a police sergeant earning Sh19, 710 up from Sh17, 790.

Other ranks above the Sergeant were awarded an increase of between Sh5, 000 and Sh10, 000.

Other beneficiaries of the new increment include the Administration Police, National Youth Service (NYS) and officers at the Prisons Service department.

A circular from the Office of the President indicates that the government will incur an extra Sh1.5 billion per month in implementing the new salary increment.

With the expiry of the 2004-2008 strategic plan, the Kenya Police on Tuesday began developing yet another strategic plan which will run up to 2013.

A questionnaire posted on the Police website is asking Kenyans to contribute and identify key areas that need attention.

The questionnaire indicates that the development of the 2008-2013 strategic plan is geared towards coinciding with the vision 2030 that is still in its initial stage.


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