, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 8 – The government\’s decision to award police officers a 28 per cent salary increment in their July pay has elicited mixed reactions from police officers, with many terming it "an insult on their intellect."
In Nairobi for instance, junior police officers furious with the announcement even jammed their official communication gadgets most of the day, paralyzing security operations.
Some of those who spoke to Capital News said the salary increment was "too little and did not match what we had been promised."
"It is an insult on our intellect, considering the work we do, how can you expect us to celebrate when the said increment cannot even make a difference in our lives," one police constable said.
In the new structure released by Internal Security Minister on Wednesday, the lowest paid police officer – a constable under job group PG1 would take home Sh21,205 up from Sh18,155 in their current payslip.
"When we received the news, it sounded like it was a lot of money, we have realized that the increment they are talking about is Sh3,000 only," another police officer said. "That is money we can do without. After all, we have been surviving without it."
Some other police officers argued that "it is unfair for Members of Parliament to award themselves hefty salaries as the government grants them a meager Sh3,000."
Senior police officers we spoke to expressed frustrations due to the persistent interference of their communication gadgets for the better of Thursday and termed it "sabotage."
Interference in the police communication gadgets occurs when a third party interrupts communication between two persons in the 2-way communication system.
In the event, officers passing messages from the control room cannot get through to their intended recipient because of the third party interference.
On Thursday, some junior officers furious with the government announcement were reportedly hurling insults across the official communication system, making it difficult for normal communication to go on.
No emergencies or sensitive security operations were hampered as a result because police resorted to communicate via mobile telephones for most of the day to get work done, according to police officers we cannot name due to the sensitivity of the matter.
"It is sabotage but there is little we can do because it is not possible to trace the people doing this. We have had problems communicating since morning," a senior police officer based in Nairobi said.
He added: "As much as we sympathise with them [junior police officers], at the end of the day the decision to increase their salaries does not lie with us. In fact, we are victims in equal terms because what we earn is not commensurate with our work but we are satisfied."
Senior officers from job group PG11 and above were awarded a slightly lower increment at increment of 25 per cent. These include Deputy Commissioners of Police and Commandants of the Administration Police and those of the Prisons service.
The government has said it intends to implement the police salary increments in three phases which will run up to 2012 beginning this July.
The second phase will be implemented in July 2011 and the third in July 2012 when a police constable will earn Sh34,000.
The Minister said a budgetary allocation of Sh5.1 billion had been released by the Treasury to cater for the first phase of the salary increment which will be paid out at the end of this month.
"The second and third [phases] will have more significant increases when the allowances for uniformed officers in specialized areas of the police services will be reviewed," the Minister said on Wednesday.
A new salary structure for the police, prison services and APs shows that minimum basic salary and allowances for a corporal under job group PG2 who currently earns Sh35,235 will take home Sh42,800 once the third phase is implemented.
The rank of a sergeant under job group 3 – a rank shared across the three disciplined services – will take home Sh45,940 up from the current Sh37,845.
An inspector in job group PG5 currently earns Sh56,450 will take home approximately Sh60,000 inclusive of allowances while a Superintendent of Police under job group PG6 who currently earns Sh77,135 will take home and extra Sh4,000 shillings.
An Assistant Commissioner of Police or Commandant of the AP/Prisons under job group PG 9 is currently paid Sh85,000 but will now earn Sh92,000.
Deputy Police Commissioners and Commandants under job group 11 will earn Sh153,835 once the third phase is paid out in 2012.
The highest paid who is the Commissioner of Police will take home Sh506, 220 while his or her equivalent in the prisons and the Administration Police will earn Sh388,060.