Civil society calls for autonomy in police budgeting to stop ministry’s interference

NATIONAL |

Currently, the police budget is under the Ministry of Interior under Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Calls for separation on police budget from the Ministry of Interior dominated a public participation forum on budget-making process for the year 2022/23.

Civil societies and community policing committees called for financial independence of the National Police Service for effective implementation of policies and service delivery.

“We are going against the Constitution and the law that provides independence of the National Police Service and the Inspector General. The IG should be given his own budget. Putting it together with the budget of the Ministry of Interior has brought challenges in delivering their mandate,” said Livingstone Nyando, Programme Officer in charge of advocacy and security sector reforms at Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU).

Cabinet Secretary of Treasury Ukur Yattani allocated Sh294.5 billion to the country’s security agencies in the financial year 2021/2022. The budget is shared among the National Police Service, Defence Forces and the National Intelligence Service.

Out of the total security budget, Defence got Sh119.8 billion, Sh42.5 billion went to the NIS and Sh110.6 billion was allocated for policing and prison services.

Currently, the police budget is under the Ministry of Interior under Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

“Police Service is independent and so is the role of the Inspector General. It gets so frustrating when police cannot do the basic duties like recording cases due to lack of printing papers and other stationery at the station,” said Nyando.

Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) Programme Officer Livingstone Nyando (R). [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

At the same time, Maurice Ogolla, a chairperson of Community Policing Committee at Kondele police station in Kisumu said he has been collecting signatures from the community in 13 stations with an aim to petition the National Assembly for violating the law they passed on police independence.

Ogolla submitted a petition to the Governance, Justice, Law and Order Sector (GJLOS) at the National Treasury to push for participation of the police boss in budget making on behalf of the NPS.

“There are about new 800 police stations built from 2018, but they are not well equipped. They are just patrol bases with no basic facilities like printers, abstract forms, P3 forms among other resources.

“For the last five years the budget for direct policing functions has been decreasing even as the population increases. In the 2020/21 period, law and order reflected a Sh16 billion slash even while police stations increase in number from about 450 in 2018 to over 1,300 in 2021,” reads the petition to Treasury.

The National Police Service Act gives the Inspector General the mandate to prepare budgetary estimates and develop a policing plan before the end of each financial year hence setting out the priorities and objectives of the service.

Article 245 of the Constitution gives the IG powers to exercise independent command over the National Police Service, and perform any other functions prescribed by national legislation.

“Sometimes we call police over crime happening in the communities and they’ll tell us that their vehicles are grounded or do not have fuel. This disenfranchises the people. We are calling for adequate funding for police,” said Milcah Ngunu, chairperson of community policing at Kongoni police station in Nakuru County.

Community Policing are legal entities at station level aimed at establishing an active and equal partnership between the police and the public.

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