The Ministry of Interior has clarified that almost 20,000 police officers will not vacate government houses, citing the nature of their jobs that require fast and coordinated deployments.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the officers from the Border Police Unit (6,000), Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU) (8,280), and 5,000 from the Anti-Stock Theft Unit would not move out of the houses provided by the government as their colleagues receive housing allowances to live among civilians.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had in September ordered that junior police officers be provided with housing allowances, and allowed to live among the civilians in places they serve.
The CIPU mans infrastructure such as airports, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) installations, and other major government operations that require maximum security.
Also in the same category are the Recce Squad and the Rapid Deployment Unit.
“There are certain officers providing critical services who will have to stay in particular places. Can you imagine, if, for example, we scattered the Recce, which provides security for the President, and told them to look for houses in places they please. When we need them, where will we look for them? No, it just cannot work,” Dr Matiang’i said Tuesday.
The CS said the officers had to be housed in a central location in case of emergencies, which often is the nature of their jobs.
He spoke at the Central Bank headquarters, Nairobi, when he witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding that will see the banking regulator build houses for officers deployed to it.
There are 331 police officers working for the CBK, with 105 based in Nairobi.
The CBK plans to construct a training centre, police station, primary school, and an auditorium on a 10-acre piece of land owned by the Kenya Police Service. Governor Patrick Njoroge refused to disclose the total amount that the project will cost, only saying it would take three phases.
He said that Sh200 million had been set aside for the project design and building the first phase.
“We want to thank the CBK for this exceptional gesture that shows they are genuinely appreciating our officers. In two to three years, the police service will be a completely different entity,” Dr Matiang’i said.
The CS also defended the proposed housing allowances for officers, saying they were arrived at after thorough consultations with all the relevant institutions.