IPOA report exposes chronic police housing scarcity

February 22, 2016 4:47 pm
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IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru has called on the government to negotiate a special mortgage for police officers and actualize the single family occupancy policy among a set of other recommendations/FILE
IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru has called on the government to negotiate a special mortgage for police officers and actualize the single family occupancy policy among a set of other recommendations/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22- A new report by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) indicates that the National Police Service has a chronic housing shortage of more than 60,000 units.

According to the report, the Kenya Police Service has a shortfall of 28,922 housing units against a staff complement of 39,238 while 80 percent of approximately 35,000 Administration Police officers are not accommodated in decent houses.

IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru has called on the government to negotiate a special mortgage for police officers and actualize the single family occupancy policy among a set of other recommendations.

“There is lack of a very clear policy framework on police housing within the National Police Service,” he said.

“The state of the houses that police officers live across Kenya is deplorable and in most instances un-conducive for human habitation.”

In the majority of the police stations that IPOA inspected, officers are forced to share single rooms while others are accommodated in canteens and halls partitioned by cardboards and bed sheets.

The current police housing arrangement in most stations do not support family life “and is often a de-motivating factor among officers.”

Several officers told IPOA “that policing work is a thankless job.”

For instance, 93.6pc out of 140 police premises inspected on housing between July-December 2014 lacked adequate accommodation and where available, the houses were in extremely deplorable conditions.

A case in point is Jogoo Road Police station where a single housing unit is shared by up to three officers, who have families.

Another place like Bamba Police Station in Kilifi County lacked a single housing unit for the serving officers.

“The officers rent houses in Bamba market that go for approximately Sh5,000 per month,” reads the report.

Njeru says the poor housing infrastructure is the most frustrating and challenging work experiences for police officers, which if not addressed will negatively impact their work.

“IPOA believes that provision of adequate, affordable housing is essential to building healthy, stable police services,” he said.

He lamented that despite billion of shillings being pumped into police housing, there is nothing to show.

The government allocated Sh1.3 billion during the 2015/2016 financial year and a similar amount in 2014/2015 financial year.

During the financial year 2013/2014, the government allocated Sh1.2 billion.

Even with the high cost of living, police officers according to the report get meagre house allowances.

Currently, a police constable is paid approximately Sh3,000 as housing supplementation, Sh5,000 for corporals in Nairobi and approximately Sh3,500-Sh3,800 in other regions.

A senior sergeant and an inspector of police are paid approximately Sh6,000 in Nairobi and approximately Sh3,500-5,500 in other areas as house allowance.

A chief Inspector within Nairobi gets Sh10,000 in Nairobi and approximately Sh6,000-9,500 in other areas.

An Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police gets Sh40,000 while a Senior AIG gets Sh60, 000 as house allowance within Nairobi while other regions vary.

“The current allowances are not in tandem with the realities of current living standards in cities, towns, urban centres and rural areas of Kenya,” the report indicates.

The report proposes that housing allowance should take cognisance of the inherent disadvantages of those working in isolated rural outposts, hardship areas and the normally higher costs of living in urban areas.

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