Can Raila Odinga really deploy six officers in all police stations within 100 days?

Azimio la Umoja presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga and running mate Martha Karua during the launch of the Azimio Manifesto at Nyayo national stadium on June 6, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Presidential Candidate has claimed that within his first 100 days in office, he will deploy six officers in all police stations to deal with community engagement.

In his 10-point manifesto, Raila said the officers will be trained and equipped to handle police-youth relations in order to restore the relationship between the officers and citizens to one of trust.

But how tenable is this plan?

The Standard’s Checkpoint desk tried to explore on the possibility of the plan as outlined below.

According to the Independent Police Oversight Authority-IPOA, the country currently has 130,000 police officers from both the Kenya Police, Administration police, DCI and the GSU units.

This means the country has a ratio of one police to a population of 366 Kenyans in 1:366. this is way within the recommended [United Nations] ratio of 1:450.

The country further has about 1,520 police stations. This means Raila will deploy about 9,120 officers to implement his plan.

Raila in the manifesto did not however clarify if these officers would be deployed from the already existing number or whether there would be fresh recruitment to that effect.

If he was to pick from the already trained officers, the plan would be doable in the said 100 days, but if he would bank on fresh recruitment, the plan would not work.

This is because the National Police Service has already in this year recruited 5,000 constables who are undergoing training. On completion, they would have to undertake some attachment before they are officially deployed.

If Raila wins the August 9 election, and there is no petition, he will assume office 14 days after IEBC’s declaration.

This means, that before the end of the year, he should have deployed the 9,120 officers. The current recruits will still be under training.

Secondly, Raila would have to wait until March next year when other constables are recruited and trained. This would mean, for him to achieve this plan, he would need at least two years to hit the target.

This argument is supported by Security expert Simiyu Werunga who said Raila’s plan would be good if implemented but would not be sustainable.

According to Werunga, there already exists a desk that deals with community engagements and public relations in all the police stations.

“These desks are however manned by one officer just like the gender and child welfare desks. All he needs to do is to provide means of capacity building and add one more officer so that they are two.

This would mean the country would have 3,040 who specifically deal with issues of public relations and community engagements.

Simiyu argues that having six officers to man one desk would not be tenable because if the deployment was made from the current figure, it would mean that the service conducts another recruitment to fill the gaps.

“The service has a structured way of conducting recruitments which most of the time would be dictated by the budgetary allocations. Therefore, from where I seat, a maximum of two officers per desk would work out well,” he said.

Werunga said six officers would also affect the normal police operations because it would mean more focus be given to the said area.

Verdict: The Checkpoint desk concludes that the deployment plan is tenable within 90 days but would have a great impact on general police operations.