NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – President Mwai Kibaki on Wednesday extended the mandate of the Task Force on Police Reforms to enable it finalise on policy recommendations.
The team, led by Justice (Rtd) Philip Ransley presented its interim report to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday, in which it has proposed far reaching measures.
It now has an extra month to incorporate recommendations on a national security policy, a national policing policy, a policy on police service transport and reviewing functions and structures of police establishments, formation and units.
The committee was also mandated to make proposals for traffic control including policy on road blocks, the creation of municipal policing authorities and those for creating effective community policing. The taskforce is to present its report at the end of September.
President Kibaki underlined the government’s commitment to police reforms, adding that the government would keenly study the report with a view to ensuring that what is implemented will benefit the country, enhance national security and boost police staff morale.
“Welfare of police officers would continue to be a priority especially housing and remuneration. We want the reforms we implement to also lead in better relations between the police and members of the public in order to ensure that security is enhanced in all corners of the country,” said the President.
“We also want the Police Force to be transformed into a Police Service that serves wananchi well.”
Some of the recommendations in the Interim Report include the change of name from Kenya Police Force to Kenya Police Service, the establishment of a Police Service Commission and the creation of an Independent Civilian Police Oversight Authority.
In addition, recommendations on police welfare and service conditions include the audit of police housing projects and broader review of housing conditions for the police, the Introduction of Special Police Allowance and a comprehensive medical and insurance scheme. The team also recommended the establishment of a Police Reforms Implementation Commission.
The news came in against reports of discomfort from the Police Headquarters on some of the recommendations of the team.
In recent weeks, unsigned statements from Vigilance House have been in circulation castigating the task force and its interim report and have in many occasions sought to question the credibility of some of the task force members.
One of the statements seen by Capital News and rumoured to have originated from Vigilance House, criticises members of the task force as a bunch of former Provincial Administration officials who are “likely to give recommendations that favour the Administration Police.”
One of the documents titled ‘Disband Police Task Force for Mediocrity’ states that the task force had overstepped its mandate by recommending the sacking of the top police leadership instead of concentrating on giving a roadmap to policy and institutional reforms.
Sources say Vigilance House is unhappy with a raft of recommendations in the interim report, particularly calls to sack all officers holding the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) among others.