Irene Githinji, Anthony Mwangi and Bernard Gitau @PeopleDailyKe
President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced sweeping reforms in the National Police Service (NPS), whose key thrust is the merger of regular and Administration Police.
The new arrangement will see the two hitherto distinct entities collapsed into General Duty Police under the command of the Inspector General.
The radical changes will see restructuring of the service on various aspects including uniform, command, housing, integration of functions and doing away with some current positions.
However, the government has assured that no police officer will lose job, position or rank in the structural changes as ranks will be rationalised and rearranged to allow everyone fit within the new command hierarchy.
Opinion was not uniform on the matter of ranks with Simiyu Werunga, a security expert saying the structural changes could lead to either suppressed discontent or even pre-emept resignations.
He, however, welcomed the changes, saying they were long overdue as most had been recommended by judge Philip Ransely who chaired the national task force that called for major reforms in the police sector in a comprehensive report in 2008, following post-election violence.
Reorganisation of the police service launched by the President will see the scrapping off a number of positions in management with 12 command positions affected to strip the service of command confusion which has stoked lethargy and delayed reaction
The positions include; Administration Police (AP) regional commander, Kenya police regional commander, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) regional commander, Kenya police county commander, AP county commander, DCI county commander, sub-county commanders from all the three arms on the National Police Service, OCPD, district AP commander and AP ward commander.
These positions will be replaced by integrated Police Geo Boundaries and placed under unified commands, namely regional police command, one county police command, and one sub-county police command.
According to another security expert George Musamali, the changes are in line with the Constitution and will enhance working and operational relationship between different formations.
“The changes will address management crisis which is complicated by high number of senior officers from different units holding same ranks rendering command a challenge,” he said.
Musamali also said there should be no loss of jobs because its only titles that have been affected. He gave the example OCPD who will now refereed as sub-county commander among other changes affecting different ranks.
And according to a security analyst Mwenda Mbijiwe, while dispelling job loss fears, officers affected by scrapped positions will be redeployed in other areas equivalent to their ranks, adding that the new changes benefits are bigger than the previous structure where the units were operating differently.
These were part of reforms in a task force report presented to the President yesterday on comprehensive policy framework for police service. Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i headed the task force.
The President said the reforms are aimed at making the police a ‘service that is respected’ rather than ‘a force that is feared’.
“From the earliest days of my Administration, it has been clear to me that our security services must be effective and impartial in enforcing the law to give confidence to the investors and entrepreneurs, who, without any doubt, we need to build an economy strong enough to create wealth and jobs for our youth,” said Uhuru.
Also under the structure the Deputy Inspector General, Kenya Police Service will now focus on public safety and security while the Deputy Inspector General Administration Police Service will focus on protective and border security as well as combating cattle rustling and banditry.
The new arrangement will see Deputy Inspector General in charge of Administration Police Service (APS) in charge of the Border Police Unit, currently known as the Rural Border Patrol Unit composed of 6,000 officers.
The Deputy IG, APS will be in charge of a new unit that will integrate the Security of Government Buildings (SGB) and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU) with 13,053 officers.
The Deputy IG APS will similarly head another new unit that will bring together Kenya Police Service Anti-Stock Theft Unit and the Administration Police Stock Theft Prevention Unit with 5,000 officers. All officers will undergo three-months refresher courses.