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Ratio of Kenya Police officers to civilians overstated

By Frankline Sunday | August 15th 2017
By Frankline Sunday | August 15th 2017

Security was a campaign issue in the just concluded general elections with the government more than once defending increased enrolment of personnel to boost security.

“In 2013, Kenya had 83,165 police officers in service giving Kenya a police to civilian ratio of 1:505, which was not in line with the UN recommended ratio of 1:450,” read the presidential delivery portal in part.

“The Government has recruited, trained and deployed an additional 36,000 police officers over the last four years, taking the number of officers to 119,165 and in the process exceeding the ratio of police to civilians to 1:380.”

Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI indicates that Kenya has indeed beefed up its resource allocation to its military and security personnel with the largest spikes recorded in the last five years.

Since 2005 Kenya has spent a cumulative $8.8billion (Sh884billion) on military hardware and operations making the country’s military expenditure the fifth highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. “In 2013, we had 231 police stations and we have increased these to 444 in the last five years,” the late Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry explained in an interview earlier this year. “We’ve also increased our police from less than 90,000 to 109,165 as well as procured new equipment and weapons for our policemen.”

Data from the 2017 edition of the Economic Survey released two months ago states that the number of police officers increased by 25.6 per cent to 53,844 between 2012 and 2016 following the absorption of two groups of recruits into the service.

According to the National Police Service on the other hand, a total of 9,937 police officers were recruited in the year 2015/16 bringing the total number of police offices in the country to 90,442.

The government’s claim that Kenya has increased the police-civilian ratio is therefore overstated.

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