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You must apply for houses, officers told

By Vincent Achuka | Jan 5th 2019 | 3 min read

Police and prison officers have been informed to apply whether they want to continue living in government procured houses and pay market rates or move out ahead of the three-week deadline.

This follows a reiteration by Inspector General of the Police Joseph Boinnet on Thursday that there would be no turning back on this presidential directive, despite discontent by junior officers about the slashing of their allowances in December.

“All police officers were paid housing allowances by last month, therefore, those who will not have secured housing at government owned police lines should find alternatives effective next month,” Boinnet said. “Reforms and transformation programme in the force is on course and we are implementing the September 13, 2018 presidential directives in full.”

Spared from this directive are some 20,000 officers who are required by the nature of their jobs to be on standby at all times. The National Police Service, Administration Police, General Service Unit and the Kenya Prisons Service have a combined boot count of about 108,000.

Those who will continue staying for free at government houses but will not receive an allowance include 6,000 Border Patrol Unit officers, 5,000 Anti-Stock Theft Unit and 8,280 from the Critical Infrastructure Unit. Also set to remain in camps are Recce Squad officers and those from the presidential guard, G-Coy.

The Recce Squad provides security to vital installations and VIPs and are deployed in high risk missions like counter-terrorism, which requires them to be ready for deployment when required. Apart from providing security to the president, G-Coy officers are charged with the duties of protecting the various State Houses and Lodges.

And in preparation for this change in policy, heads of stations have been given until Thursday next week to inform the government how much it will cost to separate water and electricity metres.

“Following the recent award of house allowances to the National Police and Kenya Prisons Service, members who will be staying in institutional houses will have to individually cater for water and electricity bills starting February 1, 2019,” an internal memo sent to station heads reads.

“As a result, you are directed to liaise with relevant service providers and discuss the total cost of metre separation for water and electricity and who will procure them,” says the memo.

Preference is however being given to those who were the first occupants in case two or more officers are currently sharing a particular house. The rest, including general duty officers and those in the rank of an inspector and above, are being strongly encouraged to live in the community.

There is however discontent among junior officers in Nairobi who say the housing allowances they get is little when you factor in government deductions like tax and other utility expenses such as electricity and water.

Initially, the government had planned to pay constables in Nairobi Sh18,124 per month, Sh13,124 for those in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Meru and Uasin Gishu and other counties Sh8,124. The amount was however reduced on the recommendation of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to Sh9,500 for Nairobi, Sh7,000 for other cities and Sh5,500 for the rest of the country

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