NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – The stage is set for a major overhaul of the National Police Service (NPS) that will see two regiments that have in the past been faulted for working at cross-purposes work under a single command structure.
While announcing the restructuring of the police service on Thursday, President Kenyatta said 39,680 regular police and 24,572 Administration Police officers will be transformed into General-Duty Police Officers with immediate effect.
The 64,252 Police Service General-duty officers will be under the direct command of Deputy Inspector General Edward Mbugua who has been assigned public safety as a core function.
Deputy Inspector General Noor Gabow has been tasked with protective and border security, as well as combating cattle rusting and banditry.
Under Gabow’s command will be a 6,000 strong Border Police Unit, and 8,280 officers from the Security of Government Buildings Unit (SGB) and Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU).
Gabow will also be in charge of the Kenya Police Service Anti-Stock Theft Unit, and the Administration Police Stock Theft Prevention Unit which have been integrated and their strength raised to 5,000.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations will retain its core mandate with the Director George Kinoti reporting directly to NPS Inspector General Joseph Boinnet.
Regional and county police command will be centralized with a regional, county, and sub-county police chief set to oversee all police operations in respective jurisdiction, making a paradigm shift from the present structure where there are up to three police commanders in each region, county, and sub-county in charge of regular, administration, and criminal investigation wings.
President Kenyatta instructed the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to commence training for all administration police officers who will now be discharging duties traditionally reserved for their colleagues in the regular police, among them making arrests and arraigning suspects in court.
“Institute refresher training for all new general-duty police officers to instil a common understanding of police-station work and to build a feeling of pride and mutual loyalty that will be symbolized by a joint pass-out parade,” President Kenyatta said when he officially opened the National Security Conference.
President Kenyatta also unveiled a new police uniform for the Police Service General-duty officers.
The Head of State abolished the mandatory free housing policy for junior officers within institutional houses, the officers now set to enjoy a house allowance to enable them rent houses of their choice.
“House allowances for all ranks of these officers will be provided,” Kenyatta announced.
“To effect the new policy, I direct the National Treasury to initiate the termination of all leases with landlords of Police Estates within 90 days of the effective date of the new allowances. Officers in these estates will be required to enter into private tenancies with property owners,” he directed.
Police officers in shared houses and those housed in structures in police lines were ordered to vacate them within three months and integrate themselves in their communities and neighbourhoods.
“Separate shift quarters for male and female officers on duty and those on standby for duty will be provided,” Kenyatta clarified.
A section of civil society organizations welcomed the realignment of the National Police Service.
Speaking to Capital FM News following the declaration by President Kenyatta, Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Irũngũ Houghton said the move will enhance efficiency in the police service.
“We’ve seen a lot of inefficiencies in the past and much of it has had to do with the duplication of roles, lack of a clear command structure, and lack of appreciation for human rights,” he said.
“We’re hoping with this framework that has been announced that forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings will be a thing of the past,” he added.
Independent Medico-Legal Unit’s Executive Director Peter Kiama said the move will ensure concerns of ambiguities and duplication of responsibilities within the police service is addressed.
“The changes will remove wastage, confusion, and ambiguity within NPS. Vehicles that were being held by parallel police commanders in counties will be released to serve the public,” Kiama told Capital FM News.