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Graduate officers now locked out of promotions

President Uhuru Kenyatta pins an honour on the lapel of Linus Njagi who emerged as the best marksman out of the 3,969 police recruits who graduated during the 146th pass out parade at Kiganjo police college in Nyeri. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

There is disquiet in the National Police Service after graduate police officers were excluded from the list of those being considered for promotion this year.

The decision to lock out graduate officers will affect over 1,000 police officers who have attained higher education while serving in the police.

It also comes months after the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) announced a salary reduction for junior police officers who were earning higher salaries after graduating from university.

In a letter dated January 6, Deputy Inspector General of Police Edward Mbugua said graduate police officers will not be allowed to take part in this year’s promotion course at the police training college in Kiganjo.

Multiple officers in the graduate police officers group who spoke to the Sunday Standard said the new directive was meant to frustrate them after they sued their employer in court.

The officers, who cannot be named because they are not authorised to speak to the media, said they feel demoralised by the decision to lock them out of promotions.

 “We just had our salaries deducted, now we have been denied a chance to compete for promotion. This is not fair,” said one officer.

But NPS through its spokesman, Bruno Shioso, said the graduates were not being targeted, and the decision was only aimed at harmonising promotions in the police service.

“No one is targeted. Promotion in the police have to follow a policy guideline,” Shioso said.

The letter communicating this new directive is signed by Jasper Ombati of the NPS personnel department.

“This is to clarify that the station commander’s course that will be mounted will comprise Sergeants and senior Sergeants only,” the letter read in part.

The new directive comes only three days after another communication by  DCI boss George Kinoti announcing that graduate officers serving in the lower ranks are free to compete in the promotion boards.

In this letter dated January 5, 2022, Francis Ndiema, on behalf of DCI boss George Kinoti, said graduate officers seeking to be promoted to the rank of Inspector were free to attend promotion interviews.

In his letter, the DCI had announced new stringent rules for the graduate police officers seeking promotions.

Among these is that besides university certificates, the graduates must have attained a mean grade of C Plus and above in their high school exams to be eligible for promotion.

Graduate officers who did not attain this university cutline were directed to compete for promotion slots alongside their non-graduate colleagues.

“Graduate police constables who did not meet the minimum grade for direct enrollment to the university (C Plus) and have acquired degrees through bridging courses should attend PC-CPL (police corporal to constable) in order to be eligible in future,” the letter read in part.

On Friday, DCI Head of Personnel Wanderi Mwangi issued a new circular communicating that the promotions board in the DCI had been called off to allow for further consultations.

Graduate police officers have been battling their employer in court for, among other issues, promotion and salary increments.