NAIROBI Kenya, Mar 7 – A senior police officer has complained that many Kenyans seeking recruitment into the Police Service are usually attracted by prospects of making quick money, as opposed to the motto Utumishi kwa Wote (Service to All).
Walter Aliwa who is attached to the Kenya Police College says it is evident that most of his students are focused on making money corruptly, based on where many wish to be posted.
He caused laughter in the vetting room when he said they only “want to make food.”
In what he termed as a “food mentality mind-set,” Aliwa pointed out that every recruit is cautioned against engaging in unethical activities during training.
Aliwa was responding to a vetting panel headed by Police Service Commissioner Mohamed Murshid who wanted to understand why officers engage in corruption despite their training to serve.
“These students are properly mentored, never to involve in corruption, human rights issues just like what happens in church or in mosque; when they are coming out, they are well put…but when they go out, we are even ashamed,” he regretted.
To help understand how bad the public mentality is, he proposed that the commission should, “ask those wanting to join the service; what area do you want to serve in? The traffic department, the Criminal Investigation Department…that way you will understand the society is not all that forthright.”
Following on this, Murshid posed, “what is the likely answer that we are likely to get if we ask this question?”
Aliwa who was not comfortable naming a specific department said, “Most want to join the service to get food, this is a Kenyan society… you know what I mean sir.”
The commission wanted to understand why despite proper training, a section of police have continued to offer poor service and particularly engaging in corruption.
On the issue of gender balance in the service, he said women shy away from the tedious duties of the police but this trend has been changing recently.
In a service of 80,000 police officers, there are 8,000 women officers.
Another officer, Johnson Mwangi who works at the Air Wing Department complained that the sector was understaffed.
He also cautioned that low salaries for the personnel at the engineering department have led to many to seek better paying jobs As a result, he said, five engineers have left the department.
The third phase of vetting will be concluded March 14 after which the National Police Commission will retreat for three weeks.
Ninety six officers of the rank of senior assistant commissioner and assistant commissioner of police have since been vetted.
Officers who satisfy the commission with regard to competence and suitability will be retained and those who do not will be removed from the service.
At the end of the exercise, 80,000 police officers will be vetted in a bid to reform the National Police Service.
The vetting process is being conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution Article 246 and National Police Service Act (2011) Section 7(2) and (3) which stipulate that members of the National Police Service shall undergo vetting to assess their suitability and competence.
The overall objective of the vetting is to build confidence and trust in the National Police Service.
While the applicable vetting standards include officers’ satisfaction of entry and training requirements, their professional conduct and discipline, integrity, financial probity, and respect for human rights.