, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – Police are no longer experiencing a communication hitch engineered by a few officers who have been protesting the “low pay increase” announced last week by the government.
Disgruntled officers who have been interrupting communication via the police pocket phones, have slowly retreated following an appeal by Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere.
There has been discontent amongst junior police officers since Wednesday last week when Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti announced a 28 percent salary increase for the law enforcement agencies.
The increment will be implemented in a three-year phase beginning end of this month until 2012, and will benefit regular, Administration Police and prison officers but most junior officers have been jamming their communication system to protest the low increment.
“It was worse at the beginning but at the moment, the interruptions on our communication system is minimal. It rarely occurs so we can say things are back to normal because we are able to communicate normally,” one senior police officer said.
Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Wahong’o said no more interruptions had occurred since Wednesday.
“There were problems initially but as it is now, there are no problems. The officers are aware that their plight is being addressed by the government because the amount will be paid in three phases,” he said.
Other officers who spoke to Capital News said there had been “too minimal interruptions” in their systems on Tuesday and Wednesday.
When a suspected gangster was gunned down outside the Ambassadeur Hotel bus stage on Thursday afternoon, officers were seen communicating with their walkie-talkies.
“I have been using it since morning and have not experienced any problems, we however, expect slight interruptions at about 6 or 7 pm when an intruder usually interrupts the communication,” one junior police officer said.
Police chief for Nairobi Central division Paul Kariuki was also seen issuing orders to his juniors using the walkie-talkie in uninterrupted conversation when he visited the scene.
Mr Kariuki told journalists the slain gunman was shot after officers on patrol spotted him and three others pushing an Asian trader to a vehicle they had parked on Tom Mboya Street while posing as police officers.
“He was gunned down when he pointed a gun at one of our officer and tried to run away. We have recovered a Ceska pistol from him,” he said.
Several police officers who spoke to Capital News at the scene said there had been a general improvement in police morale in the past two days.
“The officers have been assured that all their salary increment will be paid, and that is why everything is now back to normal, there is no go slow,” another police officer said.
Administration Police Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua on his part said normal operations were going on well in his department.
“We work as a team. We have no problem at all… all the security systems are working well,” he said.
The Commissioner of Prisons Isaiah Osugo said “there has been no go slow in the prisons, all our officers are happy.”
The salary increment announced by the government will see the lowest paid police officer – a constable under job group PG1 take home Sh21,205 up from Sh18, 155 in their current pay slip.
The second phase will be implemented in July 2011 and the third in July 2012 when a police constable will earn Sh34,000.
The Internal Security 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 specialised areas of the police services will be reviewed,” the Minister said at the time of announcing the increment.
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 of Police of job group PG5 currently earns Sh56,450 and 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.
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.