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New police housing policy to be launched as part of new reforms

By Cyrus Ombati | Aug 15th 2018 | 3 min read
Interior CS Fred Matiangi is briefed by his PS Karanja Kibicho on the state of the stalled Karatina Police Station in Mathira, Nyeri County. [Mose Sammy/Standard]

A new housing policy for the police service has been prepared ahead of its launch by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The policy provides for the management of housing in the National Police Service (NPS) with a focus on decent accommodation for police officers.

It seeks to ensure that all staff are adequately housed through direct provision of standard housing units and amenities or house allowances. It will also provide clear-cut criteria for the management and allocation of houses in the service.

A copy of the document seen by The Standard says the objective is to ensure well co-ordinated provision of housing in NPS.

“All members of the National Police Service are entitled to provision of a standard house within the area of jurisdiction or their duty station. In the absence of (i.) above they shall be provided with flat rate house allowances at an approved rate based on rank,” reads part of the policy.

The President is set to roll out a restructuring process of the service in Nairobi on August 18. The process will see some officers in the Administration Police unit join the Kenya Police and turn more than 1,500 police posts into fully-fledged stations.

Include training

Other policies include training, welfare, counselling, chaplaincy, conflict of interest and guidelines for engagement in trade and business.

The housing policy says officers living in police-provided housing will pay commensurate rent and cater for their own utility and service costs.

The Inspector General shall establish the National Police Service Housing Directorate with the overall responsibility of activities, which will include keeping records, maintenance, payment of utilities and preparing monthly reports on housing.

It adds that the directorate has overall mandate on housing but shall co-ordinate with the Service Human Resource Directorate on provision of housing to members of the service.

The directorate shall comprise uniformed and civilian experts in fields including engineering, physical planning, valuation, quantity surveying and surveying, architecture, research, statistics and economics/planning.

“An officer shall be allocated a single house and shall not be required to share with any other officer. Officers not allocated police housing will be free to rent housing within their area of jurisdiction,” reads the policy.

The National Treasury has agreed to pay house allowances to 70,000 junior police officers.

This is part of efforts to address a long-standing housing crisis as well as empower officers to own homes.

Of the 98,000-strong police population, only officers of the rank of inspector and above earn house allowances.

Dispatched teams

The office of the Inspector General had dispatched teams to go round the country and collect views from officers on the matter before they present their report next month.

The President last month ordered Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and IG Joseph Boinnet to give him a report within 30 days on how the housing crisis will be resolved.

Sources say the policy will save the Government up to Sh2 billion it has been paying for electricity, water and other amenities.

The scheme will also save more than Sh1 billion the Government has been paying to lease houses across the country.

In 2016, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority asked the Government to stop providing police officers with housing and instead give them allowances.

A study found that police were living in deplorable conditions.

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