Four years after the government adopted the Ransley report as the blueprint for police reforms, there are few signs that the force is set to be a world class outfit.
The 2009 report made more than 200 recommendations, key among them sending home officers deemed to be corrupt, unprofessional or “psychologically” unfit. “Those found unfit should be retired from the two services with sufficient safety nets,” the report says.
The services, with over 70.000 officers, are the Kenya Police headed by Ms Grace Kaindi and Administration Police under Mr Samuel Arachi.
The General Service Unit and the Criminal Investigations Directorate, which are semi-autonomous, also fall under Ms Kaindi’s docket.
Vetting of senior officers, the most notable step towards police reforms, saw five senior officers sent home, among them Mr Francis Okonya, who was second to former Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere.
Others are senior deputy commissioners Peter Eregae, who was stationed in the Inspector General’s office, Mr Jonathan Koskei, who headed the reforms docket, Mr Philp Tuimur of Police headquarters and Mr Eusebius Laibuta, who was in charge of the Administration Police College at Emali.
The vetting, seen as the key ingredient to reforms, has attracted criticism on the way it is being conducted.
Officers say they are uncomfortable with declaring their wealth, as well as that of their spouses in public.
RELUCTANT TO LEAVE
Officers found unfit to occupy office have been reluctant to leave despite a gazette notice saying any officer found unsuitable should leave office immediately and if he or she was unsatisfied with the panel’s decision, should seek a review while outside the service.
For instance, Mr Okonya signed, on behalf of Ms Kaindi, a letter to juniors of the rank of senior assistant commissioner of police inviting them to a forum organised by the National Police Commission after he had been vetted and sent home.
An assistant Commissioner of Police was among senior officers vetted in the exercise aimed at sending home those found unfit to continue with law enforcement.
He, however, surprised the panellists when he admitted he was not conversant with the Ransley Report.
The reform process targets officers found to be corrupt, unprofessional as well as those who violated human rights in discharging their duties.
It also analyses individuals on their financial probity, academic qualifications, and efficiency among others.
Security expert Simiyu Werunga told the Nation that police reforms were way behind schedule.
“The problem we have is leadership. Ordinary citizens want to see change when they go to police stations. The officers have not changed and cannot if there is no direction from their superiors,” he said.
Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, however, said the reforms had been delayed but were on course.
He said the Titus Naikuni committee mandated to oversee the implementation of the Ransley recommendations completed its work in 2012 but there was a lull as the election campaigns kicked off and also when the Jubilee Government was taking shape.
“We are dealing with the first recruits under the reform programme. What we are undergoing is beyond reforms but transformation,” he said.
Mr Kimaiyo said the police had taken a big step after the government decided to lease vehicles for the service instead of buying them.
He said 700 of the 1,200 vehicles had been delivered and the rest were expected in June.
The police boss revealed he was seeking money to fund county community policing committees.
“We shall pay sitting allowances to the committee members,” said Mr Kimaiyo.
He also confirmed that police officers would enjoy medical insurance cover from July.
But, according to Mr Werunga, the counties are not yet ready to handle security matters.
“The best way is to go beyond committees and have police reservists at the counties. But we need to wait until proper mechanisms are in place. The reservists should be responsible to their own people because they share values, language and tribe. But they should work under the National Police Service and be paid by the counties,” he added.