NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the recent integration of the regular and Administration Police (APs) is aimed at improving efficiency in service delivery.
He told the new joint police force to work with dignity and redeem its image from tags of being the “most corrupt” to being the “most respected” institution in the land.
“This is a new service that should have no place for impunity. It serves Kenyans equally and ensure that those that need punishment are punished with respect to the law”, said President Kenyatta.
The Head of State was speaking at State House, Nairobi, where he received both outgoing and new commissioners of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) and the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA).
He said the first mandate of the police is to serve Kenyans and make the country the most secure, to safeguard and attract investments.
“The most desirable attitude in policing is that the public comes first. This attribute, coupled with integrity, is, indeed, key to maintaining, on a lasting basis, security and safety in society,” said President Kenyatta.
He also received exit reports from the two commissions and four policy documents from the NPSC on housing, training and development, welfare, and psychological counselling of officers.
President Kenyatta said the new housing arrangement for police officers will restore pride and dignity in the force.
When the new National Police Service Housing Policy is implemented, officers will enjoy accommodation under various categories including houses owned by the NPS, in estates and apartments, houses in police institutions and police lines and shift quarters.
Others will be accommodated in gated residential areas and in stand-alone apartment blocks.
President Kenyatta said the establishment of both NPSC and IPOA six years ago ushered in a new policing era in Kenya characterized by modern equipment, new training curriculum and highly motivated, transparent and accountable service men and women.
He congratulated IPOA for an excellent job in executing its wide-ranging mandate that positively contributed to a significant improvement in policing despite having no previous institution to compare with.
President Kenyatta acknowledged that during its first six-year tenure, IPOA put in place structures, policies regulations and established its headquarters and opened regional offices across the country.
“IPOA exists as a safeguard against police misconduct. To that extent, I need to re-emphasize my administration’s support in this endeavour and we applaud your work,” the President told the commissioners.
He added: “You have kept to your mandate of conducting impartial and independent investigations, inspections, audits and monitoring of the National Police Service to prevent impunity and enhance professionalism in the interest of the public.”
IPOA conducted 760 investigations, took some to court and made key recommendations during its first six years.
President Kenyatta said the NPSC had also achieved key milestones during the first term of its existence.
He said the commission had succeeded in putting in place a rigorous vetting process for officers, fostering cordial relations with various stakeholders and engaged fruitfully with the National Assembly, civil society, the Police Reforms Steering Committee and a number of international organisations.
The NPSC also put in place mechanisms to evaluate senior officers to determine their competencies and suitability for promotion.
The President said the recommendations made by the commission will go a long way in clarifying and simplifying command and control to improve accountability and performance.
“They will make our police more than equal to the threats to our nation,” the Head of State added.
He promised full government support to both IPOA and the NPSC to continue executing their critical mandate.
President Kenyatta applauded Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Fred Matiangi and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet who were present for their leadership and good working relationship with the outgoing commissioners.
On his part, Matiangi said his efforts are aimed at interpreting President Kenyatta’s vision on security through a collaborative and consultative security sector.
Outgoing IPOA Chairman Njeru Macharia, who is being replaced by Anne Makori, said his organization had been highly rated by various international and continental institutions.
He said IPOA had been consulted by South Africa, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Senegal and Tunisia with the aim of revitalising their own institutions.
Exiting NPSC Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi said the stagnation of officers will now be a thing of the past under the new guidelines.