NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 9 – The government urgently needs to purchase 4,000 new cars for the police department.
Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said on Monday that he hoped to use money generated from a freeze on recruitment of additional police officers to finance acquisition of the vehicles.
”I cannot say how much money it is, but it is substantial,” Prof Saitoti said and added that he was in talks with the Treasury to secure more funding when the supplementary budget is tabled in Parliament.
Equipping the force with additional vehicles and modern equipment are part of wide-ranging proposals made by the Task Force on Police Reforms, which handed over its final report to President Mwai Kibaki last week.
At the moment, the force is also focussing on re-training its officers at ongoing programmes at Kiganjo Police Training College and at the Administration Police Training College in Embakasi.
Professor Saitoti expects to table the final report before the Cabinet any time from now, before introducing legal amendments in Parliament to transform the force.
The proposed reforms require funding amounting to Sh81 billion according to Prof Saitoti, and the government is in a position to meet 50 percent of the budget. It will however require assistance from development partners to bridge the difference.
“The Task Force on Police Reforms came up with costing and a financing programme which stands at Sh81.4 billion spread over four years,” Prof Saitoti said at a meeting with Editors at Harambee House on Monday morning.
He said an Implementation Committee would be set up to monitor the progress of instituting the reforms.
He said outstanding payment of allowances for the police force had been cited as a source of poor motivation.
When President Kibaki received the final report of the Task Force last week, he ordered the immediate payment of outstanding allowance arrears amounting to Sh400 million.
The report recommends a substantial pay increase for all police officers by July next year.
It proposes that the lowest ranking officers in both the Regular and Administration Police earn a basic salary of Sh18,000, up from the current Sh11,000 while Sergeants will be paid Sh26,000 up from Sh19,000.
If implemented, Police Inspectors who currently earn Sh23,000 will take home Sh48,000. This amount excludes other benefits like house and hardship allowances among others.
The highest paid police officer who is to be called Inspector General of Police will earn Sh269,000 from the current Sh127,000 basic salary for the holder of that office.
On Monday, Prof Saitoti disclosed that the final report had made 200 recommendations, which include issues of accountability, the change of the name to Police Service from Police Force, establishment of an independent police oversight authority, and a code of conduct.
“The ownership of matatus and towing vehicles by police officers must come to an end because it creates a conflict of interest,” Prof Saitoti said.
Other reforms include the improvement of terms and conditions in the force, longer training periods, and leadership/management training for officers above the rank of Inspector.”
“We will also carry out an evaluation of serving officers to gauge their aptitude and suitability for the positions they currently hold,” he added.
The report rejected the proposed merger of the Regular and Administration Police units which will however operate under the National Police Council.
When the Kenya Police Service is formed, it will be headed by an Inspector-General while a Commandant-General will be in charge of the Administration Police Service.
The CID will be known as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations which will operate under greater autonomy. It will be headed by an Assistant Inspector General.
A Police Service Commission will be created to deal with transfers, recruitment and promotions of officers.