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Press Release

ICPC PRESS RELEASE: Police reforms uneven and slow

Nairobi, Kenya, October 29 2014/.. Law and order, crime and corruption remain serious
problems adversely affecting the individual safety, national security and inclusive economic
growth. There is broad consensus and acknowledgement that the security and justice sector
need to be reformed and strengthened. Overall, crime remains under-reported and
inadequately investigated by police. Access to justice, respect for rule of law and vulnerability
still remain the cause of grave concern.
Therefore, an accountable, transparent and efficient national police service in Kenya is essential
for the safety, and well-being of the all citizens, national democratic co-existence, and long
term inclusive growth and development. It is also critical in creation of secure and certain
environment, which is conducive to local and international confidence as well as consumers of
the services.
Apart from strategic planning, drafting of Operational and Procedure manual and stalled
vetting process, substantive policy reform, institutional development, capacity building and
collaboration with other agencies remain limited. The progress in police reforms has been
uneven and torturously slow. More worrying, the police are still widely considered ineffective
and corrupt. Ordinary citizens blame insecurity deterioration to the inept national police
service. The beginning of transition from colonial style of police force to a democratic police
service is yet to yield much results and effectiveness.
The old mindset and mentality of the police force still yoke the senior police officers despite
radical changes introduced by the Constitution and the National Police Service act 2011. The
National Police Service Act 2011 is a very transformative law. It removes ambiguities, overlaps,
duplications and contradictions in the National Police Service including command structure and
accountability. The law has created new Police structure, which abolishes six ranks doing
nothing part from clogging and bureaucratizing police functions.
State Department of Internal Security has played pivotal role of deliberately standing on the
way of major police reforms. The Department is less willing to uphold the Constitution and
loosen its grip on police allowing the National Police Service to be fully transformed, do its work
independently and deliver policing, law enforcement and crime deterrence services
professionally as per the supreme law of the land.
Full integration and merging of the Kenya Police Service and Administration Police into single
entity: National Police Service recognized by Constitution and National Police Service Act 201 is
not yet done causing vicious in fights and sabotage of the functions of the Service. The Service
ought to have two Deputies one in charge of Operations and Strategy and the other
Administration and Logistics unlike current arrangement.
The vetting, restructuring and retraining standards of the Police Service are too far lower
standards than other institutions like judiciary. Apart from poor management, there appears
inadequate realization that successful police reform can only be sustained if it is linked to an
effective justice system that enforces the rule of law fairly and effectively to protect individual
rights and assure citizen security.
The national police service desperately needs a combination of managerial expertise, strategic
vision and major increase in budget. The Inspector General of National Police Service is
supposed to be effective, capable and efficient Chief executive while the Deputies are the
operational and command officers of law enforcement and tackling crimes.
The Police leadership is in disarray. It lacks foresight, vision and internalization of the new
constitutional policing and law enforcement order. It will be difficult to transform the current
Police into modern impartial, credible and capable Service with insider at the top. The law has
given an opening to appoint the Chief executive of national police service outside the service
but the deputies must be career police officers.
There is urgent need to enforce and respect the constitutional division of roles between the
newly formed security bodies, define the principles and rules for their interaction, including
information exchange, and define comprehensive policy strategy to deal with the full range of
security issues, including low-level criminality and organized crime. Further, decentralize and
deploy national police service structures to correspond with devolved units over the entire
national territory.
The National Police Service Commission must be fully funded and resourced to execute its
constitutional mandate without political and civil service interference. Role of National Police
Service Commission is overseeing police functioning and implanting the constitutionally
inspired reforms to achieve functional autonomy for the National Police Service (through
security of tenure, streamlined appointment and transfer processes, and the creation of a
"buffer body" between the police and the government) and enhanced police accountability
(both for organizational performance and individual misconduct.)
The Commission must impose tough sanctions against police officers who do not report for
duty at appointed places and times; hold those within its hierarchy fully accountable for
management deficiencies and infractions of law when adequate management structures are in
place; dedicate money and morale-boosting attention to it and improve human resource
management, including for recruitment.
To improve on accountability and delivery of policing and law enforcement services,
government, civil society and development partners need to take concrete action to ensure
proper civilian oversight of the national police service and national security policy, including
building capacity in the internal security department, parliamentary departmental committee
on security, civil society, media and creating civilian-police county oversight body involving local
community. Also undertake substantive policy changes in operational and organizational
structure; consolidate national crime prevention strategy; transform and improve quality of
investigations, operations and prosecutions linkage; make national police service more
gender and vulnerable groups sensitive, strengthening partnerships and cooperation, and
invest in cost effective realistic technology and communication in national police service.
National Police Service Commission and National Parliament Committee on Security must
develop comprehensive budgetary, procurement and management oversight to enforce
transparency and accountability mechanisms of the national police service funds expenditure.
Ndungu Wainaina
Executive Director