Radical changes as more than 22,000 APs join regular force

Administration Police officers disperse protesting youths in Kisumu County on September 30, 2018. (File, Standard)
Over 22,000 Administration Police officers are set to be converted to Kenya Police in a move that will also pave the way for far-reaching changes in administration.

Slightly over 25,000 APs will be left to manage the core duties – border patrol, rapid deployment, security of Government installations and anti-stock theft campaigns.

The conversion is structured to begin this October through a series of sensitisation programmes before the officers are taken to Kenya Police Training College, Kiganjo, and the Administration Police Training College for re-orientation.

Those who have seen the proposals for structural changes say more than 3,600 chiefs’ camps across the country will be turned into police posts. All the country’s 1,520 wards will have police stations while the current constituencies will have police divisions as part of efforts to devolve services across the country.

Further, the Anti-Stock Theft Unit will now be run under the Administration Police. The unit will join Rapid Deployment Unit, Rural Border Patrol Unit and Security of Government Buildings Unit, which will remain under the APS.

These are part of the proposed structural changes in the service that would be unveiled if the Government adopts a report ready for action. According to an internal communication in the service, the 22,000 transiting officers will be those who joined the service before 2011. They will be retrained in batches. The remaining group will be taken for a refresher course at the AP Kanyonyo College in Machakos before being redeployed. 

In the planned changes, the service will also adopt new standards for operation. This will also see most resources that are scattered in the service consolidated under one command in a given area. For instance, all police vehicles in a given division will be managed and run by the local Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD).

The changes will also see APs focus on their main role of protecting the country’s strategic installations, VIP protection and border security.

Already, the service is taking over the manning of the Kenya-Somalia border by ensuring all other police stations near there are removed.

Police housing

A team of 100 officers have been sent to India to learn how camels are used in patrolling the Himalayas border.

The revelation came as Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet refuted claims that the AP would be disbanded.

Instead, the CS said the unit will be re-organised and reformed for effective service delivery to Kenyans.

The proposed reforms, which include restructuring the police force as well as ensuring better police housing, according to Matiang’i, are long overdue.

“Nobody is intending to disband the AP service. The two services are provided for in the Constitution. What we are working on is a reform process and not a revolution. We are engaged in reforms strictly according to the law,” Matiang’i said.

Boinnet said instructions from President Uhuru Kenyatta are to have the police command structure and housing issue relooked at as part of the security sector reforms. “Our intention is to create more robust, responsive general duty, border police and units that take care of our critical infrastructure and fight banditry.”

They spoke during a quarterly police chiefs meeting that brings together the regional and county security committee bosses held once a year.

In addressing the thorny issue of police housing, the Interior Ministry and the National Police Service are seeking to have accommodation of serving officers improved besides their general welfare.

This will include construction of offices for new sub-counties and refurbishment of residences to improve service delivery, training of more administrative officers and other security officers on capacity improvement and promotional courses.

The officers will also be provided with accommodation allowances.

The joint meeting for regional and county security committees is meant to take stock of the security issues across the country and develop strategies to address emerging challenges.

“It provides a useful platform for buttressing our synergies in coordination of security services and operations in realisation of the sustainable development goals, Vision 2030 and in particular, the Big Four Agenda,” Matiang’i said.

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