Police commission introduces measures to retain officers

Currently, police officers to population ratio in Kenya is 1:550.

Monday March 28 2016

National Police Service Commission Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi (right) speaks to the media about the recruitment of police constables at the commission's offices in Nairobi on March 22, 2016. Mr Kavuludi said the service was ready to fight with private organisations to ensure they no longer reap where they have not sown. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

National Police Service Commission Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi (right) speaks to the media about the recruitment of police constables, at the commission's offices in Nairobi on March 22, 2016. Mr Kavuludi said the service was ready to fight with private organisations to ensure they no longer reap where they have not sown. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By FRED MUKINDA
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The police force loses an estimated 1,500 officers every year, but it is those who leave for greener pastures that has caused alarm in law enforcement.

To guard against the brain drain, the National Police Service Commission recently directed that new officers be bonded for 10 years, meaning they cannot leave the profession before the lapse of the period.

NPSC Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi said the directive would reduce the burden on the government and taxpayer.

The Nation established that it costs the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Sh10 million to train a cybercrime, fraud specialist or forensics analyst, yet most ended up in private firms.

It costs more for the force to train helicopter and fixed-wing pilots who, unfortunately, eventually move to private organisations before they are utilised by the country.

Then there is the top notch Recce Company of the General Service Unit, whose officers are obvious targets of private security firms involved in counter terrorism.

Mr Kavuludi said the service was ready to fight with private organisations to ensure they “no longer reap where they have not sown”.

“The kind of training accorded these officers are specifically designed for this country’s security needs. The current curriculum is designed for today’s challenges. Therefore, the loss of any officer prematurely is a big blow to the country,” he said.

“There is nowhere in the world where specialists are allowed to leave at will.”

Currently, police officers to population ratio in Kenya is 1:550.

It is anticipated that it will come down to 1:450 by February next year, once the NPSC recruits 10,000 officers.

The recruitment is scheduled for April 4. It is the batch Mr Kavuludi says must be bonded to check the personnel haemorrhage from the force.

RETAINING MANPOWER

There are several reasons the police service is a fertile ground for personnel poachers.

Few institutions of higher learning offer disciplines on police training. Upon graduation, officers are awarded either diplomas or higher diplomas in Security studies, depending on courses taken.

“We now have a scheme of service and it should afford personnel to see policing as any other profession. We cannot continue to allow the loss of skills to institutions that have not incurred any training costs,” Mr Kavuludi added.

All entrants at police training colleges are government-sponsored, meaning they do not pay tuition or accommodation fees.

Unlike private organisations that demand academic qualifications and experience before offering employment, the police service picks raw talents from young people and invests heavily in them.

The commission is now adopting an old tactic, in which private organisations provide specialised training to employees but in turn bond them for a specified period.

Most police specialists are attracted by higher salaries offered by private orgnisations.

Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro said it was possible to make the profession attractive.

“Why does the military maintain officers yet soldiers are paid by the government?” he asked.

The pension plan for government employees, insurance and specialist allowances are some of the benefits NPSC would be banking on to retain specialists.

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