Grab chance to boost police service morale

Police officers play a pivotal role in the maintenance of law and order amid great odds that make their tough job even more difficult. But they soldier on, lest confusion and disorder take root, to the people’s detriment.

The choice of former Chief Justice David Maraga to lead a task force on police reforms signals the government’s commitment to identifying these challenges and making solid recommendations on how to resolve them. The task force will convene sessions in all 47 counties to collects views.

This is one of the most difficult jobs; officers put their lives on the line as they fight crime, risking getting harmed or killed by criminals. They need the right equipment and facilities.

In the submissions it made to the 23-member Maraga task force appointed by President William Ruto in December last year, the National Police Service (NPS) wants the officers’ salaries and allowances increased to be at the same level with those of other security organs with a reliable health insurance scheme for them. The officers also want the duration of recruits’ training increased from nine to 12 months. In addition, they want the previous police uniform restored.

The Maraga team is also looking into the welfare of the police officers and prison warders. It is also expected to identify any other constraints that hamper effective delivery of services. Terrorism and banditry are rife in the northern regions, which are perennially prone to insecurity, with the increasing use of improvised explosive devices by terrorists.

The police is one of the most neglected yet critical public services. It always gets political promises from successive regimes. Hopefully, the Ruto administration will fulfill its election campaign promise to improve officers’ welfare. This is an opportunity that should not be let to slip through the fingers.

Morale is key in determining the officers’ performance. Interestingly, however, it has also been partly undermined by the introduction of an unpopular uniform, poor living and working conditions, lack of proper equipment and inadequate training to handle existing and emerging security threats.

One of the best assurances of the security of lives and property is an efficient, well-motivated and equipped police service.


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