A task force to look into the welfare of police, prisons and National Youth Service (NYS) officers has recommended far-reaching changes, including disbandment of the current National Police Service Commission (NPSC) team and a 40 per cent salary raise.
The team, chaired by former Chief Justice David Maraga has also recommended the entry age be increased to 21 years from 18, and the minimum qualifications for recruitment be raised to grade C-minus, up from the current D-plus.
For marginalised areas, however, the team recommends status quo. The training for new recruits will be raised from nine to 12 months , while that for cadets will take 15 months.
The officers will also get consolidated medical covers and house allowance, their recruitment and promotion will be automated and no officer will serve in the same county for more than three years.
To curb the leadership wrangles between the National Police Service (NPS) and NPSC due to “continued usurpation of its function by the NPS leadership”, the task force has recommended that the government considers initiating a negotiated exit or any other legal modality for the current Commissioners.
The team has also called for the decongestion of prisons from the current population of 62,448 to 29,000 inmates.
These are some of the recommendations contained in the report that was officially handed to President William Ruto at State House Nairobi yesterday.
Speaking during the event, President Ruto said the report was a critical step towards one of the key commitments of his administration; to undertake reforms in the security sector and improve operational efficiency. He said the transformation of the sector has been long overdue for many decades with several attempts made to rectify the situation producing minimal changes.
“The reforms are intended to ensure that the gallant men and women in uniform who have committed themselves to the highly challenging and risky career of keeping Kenyans safe are accorded the respect, support and recognition that they deserve,” said the President.
Commissioned on December 21, 2022, the task force narrowed down on four major problems in the security services—underfunding, poor leadership, structural and organisational weakness and corruption.
“These problems have impaired the terms and conditions of service and severely undermined service delivery,” President Ruto said.
Corruption, was cited frequently in the report, often described as systemic, endemic, entrenched, deeply embedded and rampant.
Some of the changes will require Parliament’s intervention through amendment of legislation and input form other agencies such as the Salaries and Remuneration Commission. However, changes in the administrative functions will be implemented immediately.
“I hereby direct the alignment of terms and conditions of service of the NPS, KPS and the NYS with other security organs. Review pay, living conditions, medical cover, housing and other aspects of welfare of members of the services and simply do the right thing by our officers,” he said.
Other immediate changes include review of policies and institutionalisation of equipment modernisation.