President William Ruto has gazetted a 20-member taskforce on improvement of terms and conditions of service and other reforms for police and prison officers in the country.
Dr Ruto said the taskforce will remove the gaps available within the service that continue to hamper efficient security provision in the country.
“I am committed to ensuring that we have a professional police service. I have given my assurance to the commanders across the country that they have my support and that of Kenyans to make sure that they deliver on their mandate,” he said yesterday during the opening of the National Police Leadership academy in Ngong.
The taskforce chaired by retired Chief Justice David Maraga is composed of amongst others senior security officials, security experts and researchers and is expected to attend to perennial welfare challenges facing the men and women in uniform in the country that have compromised their efficiency at work.
These include; Security expert Simiyu Werunga, the director of the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS) Mr Mutuma Ruteere, Federation of Women Lawyers Legal counsel Ms Anne Ireri, Mr Jillo Guyo from the Administration police service and Mr Moffat Kangi from National Police Service.
The government has maintained that police officers must concentrate on their key mandate of providing security in the country without getting entangled in politics.
“I have been very clear to all our men in uniform, I have had a chat with the military, the commanders of police and I have been very clear that they have a cardinal duty to secure the lives, property and nation of Kenya to make sure that we can rally our development in a secure environment,”said Dr Ruto.
He added, “If by any chance you get instructions that are not grounded by law, you should respectfully ignore them and follow what the law says. That is the kind of police force we want to build.”
Amongst the key mandates for the taskforce will be the harmonization of police salaries and ranks which has continued to bug the service for years. This will be informed by recommendations by the National Salaries and Remuneration Commission, National Police Service Commission, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Independent Policing Oversight Authority and other state organs.
On this the taskforce is required to come up with policies that guide recruitment, deployment, transfers and promotion guidelines as well as incentives that boost police morale and retirement benefits.
It shall also be tasked with reviewing the controversial police blue uniform which Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua promised to change once the Kenya Kwanza coalition has been elected to office. The uniform was introduced to the service in 2018.
It shall also review the current housing policy for police officers and recommend suitable changes including the introduction of a mortgage facility for the officers.
Other key issues include; recommendations on how to end cases of sexual harassment and mental issues within the service and improvement of the training curricula.
The taskforce whose mandate runs for a period of three months will also assess the uptake of recommendations made by previous task forces including the John Mutony, Philip Ransley and Ttitus Naikuni task forces.