Split police, give APs old roles to rein in insecurity, Kindiki says

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki inspects a guard of honour at Administration Police Training College (APTC), Embakasi, on November 25, 2022. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Ministry of Interior wants the Administration Police given back their traditional roles, citing a surge in crime. 

Exclusive documents obtained by The Standard raise alarm over heightened security threats and sluggish responses to criminal activities after the merger of police units into one service. 

This merger, according to the documents, has worsened insecurity. 

“It is important to note that some officers have lost their lives due to this exposure. This situation tends to instil fear among officers, negatively affecting their performance and overall service delivery,” reads the document titled Policy Guidance and Direction on the Establishment of the National Government Administration Police Unit. 

The AP now serve under the National Police Service (NPS), which was established in 2011 under Article 243 of the Constitution following the dissolution of the Kenya Police Force and Administration Police Force. The NPS is under the overall and independent command of the Inspector-General of Police, who is appointed by the President and approved by the Parliament. The Administrative Police Service (APS) is headed by a Deputy Inspector General.

During the launch of a policy framework and strategy for reorganising the NPS, former President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the merger aimed to eliminate waste, duplication, and overlap of duties. 

However, the Interior Ministry argues there has been a prolonged turnaround time in proactively responding to distress, emergencies, insecurity, and conflict, especially at the grassroots level. This delay has hampered crime prevention efforts, undermined security coordination, and impeded law enforcement. 

“Overall, this has an adverse effect on security coordination, crime prevention, maintenance of law and order, promotion of peace, and service delivery. Urgent redress is required, with the establishment of a National Government Administration Police Unit (Ngapu) being the solution,” said the ministry. 

It also highlighted the vulnerability of government offices, particularly at the county level, to theft, arson, and other criminal activities due to a decline in support from the National Police Service since the implementation of policy reforms in 2010. 

“Most national government offices at the county level remain unguarded, posing safety and security risks to property, assets, documents, and data. Incidents of theft, arson, and break-ins have been reported in several counties,” the report reads.

NGAPU will, according to the report, provide security and support to National Government Administrative Offices (NGAOs), safeguard officials and government property, and combat alcohol and drug abuse. 

“The need for Ngapu is underpinned by several constitutional and legal provisions,” reads the report, adding, “Article 245(4) further provides that ‘the Cabinet Secretary responsible for police services may lawfully give a direction to the Inspector General with respect to any other matter of policy for the National Police Service.” 

The unit will also maintain law and order, facilitate dispute resolution, and contribute to peace-building initiatives. 

The ministry said the Constitution and the National Police Service Act 2011 give the IG the authority to create policing units to deal with emerging security challenges as well as provide support to the operations of other government agencies. 

The policy said that this authority has led to the creation of various police units dedicated to specific matters of national security, safety, and interest. 

“Some of the police units that have been created and operationalised include the Critical Infrastructure Police Unit (CIPU), the Border Patrol Unit (BPU), the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), and the Water Police Unit. Additionally, there are units attached to Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), and the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA),” read the policy.

The Ministry is urging the Inspector General to swiftly establish Ngapu, issuing comprehensive policy directives for its operationalisation.  

“Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, and Assistant County Commissioners are increasingly targeted by criminals due to their crucial role in national government administration and the fight against crime. Cases of victimisation, assault, and arson of chiefs’ offices and homes while on duty are a common occurrence,” the report reads. 

The ministry said that the unit will serve several crucial functions, including providing security and assistance to the National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) in their duties, safeguarding NGAO offices and official residences, aiding in campaigns against alcohol and drug abuse, and ensuring security during public events such as barazas.

Others include aiding in the apprehension of suspects and the preservation of exhibits; maintaining law and order; supporting NGAO in dispute resolution and peacebuilding efforts; and offering assistance to other national government agencies in the execution of their functions. 

“In light of the constitutional and legislative frameworks in place, acknowledging the precedents outlined above, and in alignment with Executive Order No. 1 of 2023, which designates the Ministry of Interior and National Administration with the responsibility for policy formulation on internal security and oversight of internal security affairs, it is recommended that the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration take the following actions,” the policy said.

Kindiki is supposed, according to the policy, engage the IG to establish the Ngapu, to bolster NGAO and other government agencies in their service delivery mandates.

The ministry also called on the IG to issue a policy directive for the development of a policy framework to guide the creation and operationalization of the Ngapu, ensuring its effective functioning within the broader framework of internal security.

According to the Economic Survey-2023 report, crime rates surged by 8.4 per cent in 2022, with 81,272 cases reported in 2021 and 69,645 in 2020. 
“During the review period, the number of crimes committed by males increased by 2.3 per cent to 70,383, while crimes committed by females increased by 13.6 per cent to 17,475,” the report said. 

A recent study commissioned by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime reveals that Kenya’s crime rate ranks among Africa’s highest. According to a non-governmental organisation, Enhancing Africa’s Response to Transnational Organised Crime, the research identifies Kenya as a significant hub for terrorism, human trafficking and money laundering.

The report titled Africa Organised Crime Index 2023: Increasing Criminality, Growing Vulnerability, attributes this trend to widespread insecurity and declining democratic principles. 

Speaking to The Standard on the phone Haki Yetu Executive Director Peter Kiama said the problems with the police were incompetency, nepotism and corruption, which have eroded the gains of the Constitution. 

“Most APs who were deployed to KPS, about 20,000, were supposed to be trained for general duties. The induction was conducted. The capacity to APs was not done effectively,” Kiama said, describing the move to establish Ngapu as a colonial hangover. 

“First, it was not a merger but a move to streamline the police, which those in power failed to honour and make successful. We have deeper issues in the police, which include corruption, which kills, destroys quality, and has compromised the service. Clean up the service. The country should implement the Maraga taskforce and introduce professionalism,” Kiama explained. 

Usalama Reforms Executive Director Caleb Wanga blamed the government for the insecurity, saying incompetency, greed, and corruption are the real causes. 
“Crime is a big industry. From phones stolen, property grabbed, and many other things, there are benficieris,” Wanga said, adding that “almost all those in power did not support the new constitution. They just need to implement all the clauses on security, and the country will be safe.”