Disabled police officers to wait longer for allowances approval

Cadets parade at Kenya Police College in Kiganjo, Nyeri, January 20, 2022. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Some had their arms and legs amputated after driving over land mines in northern Kenya.

Others are living with bullets lodged in their frail bodies. And yet others walk with the aid of crutches or are in wheelchairs.

This is the state of many police officers injured in the line of duty.

For nearly a year now, these officers have not been enjoying tax exemptions despite the huge sacrifice they made for their country.

Their biggest benefit for now is being taken of out of normal duties.

National Police Service Commission (NPSC) chairman Eliud Kinuthia confirmed that while injured officers had been taken out of normal duty duties, they not been getting tax exemptions since November last year.

The officers decried the delay to reinstate the exemptions, which vary according to rank and experience.

According to Kinuthia, the suspension was undertaken by NPSC to harmonise the allowances and establish a Disabled Officers Scheme of Service. The scheme will include extending the retirement age for the affected officers to 65 year.

"We have vetted all the applicants and informed them accordingly and we know that it has taken long to conclude the matter but that is because this process was completed as the Fourth government was exiting and preparing for the Fifth to be ushered in," Kinuthia said in an interview.

While asking the affected officers to be patient for the process to conclude, he added that the new government will have to look at the recommendations for approval.

"Since this is a matter that involves finances, we are waiting for the new government to settle in office and I am sure all the officers will be taken care of.

None of them will be discriminated by the process," he added.

But the officers separately said they were concerned about the long delay.

They claimed that they had not been updated on their fate and were apprehensive because some lucky few continued to enjoy the status.

Some of them showed us correspondences with NPSC.

If an officer writes to follow up on their status, a correspondence is cascaded through the Sub-county Police Commander formerly known as OCPD.

National Police Service (NPS) spokesman Bruno Shioso, however, said this is a personnel issue strictly under the ambit of the NPSC.

"Kindly advice the officer that the NPSC convened a special medical board to conduct an assessment of sick, injured and Living With Disability to ascertain their special needs and to provide a police direction. Once the policy is out, the officer's needs will be considered and addressed. Please advice accordingly," one letter to an officer by their county police commander said.

Because most officers in this category are eventually assigned lighter duties, those we spoke to said they keep a tight circle and that they were about 80-100. The NPSC chairman declined to speak on numbers but said each individual case had been considered in their report.

The officers spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisals

NPSC requires each of the officers to appear before the medical board and produce documents showing they had categorised as disabled by the Ministry of Heath.