President Uhuru Kenyatta recently assured the nation of his government’s commitment to ensuring reforms to boost the welfare of police officers and guarantee Kenyans an accountable and effective National Police Service (NPS).
The reforms include new National Police Service Standing Orders; career progression guidelines and basic training curriculum; access to basic housing; and improved general welfare.
Further, the government, through constitutionally mandated agencies, is to ensure provision of group life insurance cover, better housing and improvement of salaries and remunerations for the officers.
Failure to pay attention to police reforms vis-a-vis welfare has, over the years, been identified as a key contributor to low morale, misconduct by officers and vices such as corruption that have sullied the image of the security agencies.
The 2010 Constitution, which created the NPS and, subsequently, the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa), was considered the harbinger of policing reforms in the country, placing the citizen at the centre of the security and policing front.
Huge strides have been made in the service, including the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police and the creation of bodies such as the NPSC and the Ipoa. Policy reviews and recommendations have been made towards ensuring that the lives of officers are taken care. That is bound to ensure a citizen-centric police service.
Decent housing, insurance, suitable equipment and various payments for officers are among comprehensive recommendations made by the Ipoa.
However, there is a need to re-examine efficiency within the security system to identify and seal points of capacity leakages in accountability, eliminate wastage and ensure prudent utilisation of public resources.
To this end, the government has increased its investment in NPS from Sh53.6 billion in 2013 to Sh97.6 billion in the current financial year. Kenyans expect positive returns for their taxes.
It is my hope, as a Kenyan, that the government, through the NPSC, will give priority to police welfare within the broad security sector reforms.
NYASANI MBAKA, Nairobi.
* * *
The envisaged reforms in the police service should include not only inner reform of values but also their outer appearance.
I propose that the Kenya Police uniform gets a makeover. The one in use feels and looks colonial and is not fit for the 21st Century.
Further, police stations are dilapidated and dirty and need to look modern and friendly.
Kenyan clothing designers can be contracted to overhaul the look and image of the police to fit the modern age.
MATHEW MWANGI, Nairobi.