Better pay and more allowances remain a top priority for police and prisons officers even as senior commanders seek to have more powers in the ongoing reforms in the service.
In their submissions to the task force on police and prison reforms chaired by former Chief Justice David Maraga, both the National Police Service (NPS) and Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) have made it clear they want better perks for officers.
They have proposed a salary increment of up to 150 per cent for prison warders and up to 113 per cent raise for police officers.
In a move that could embolden the quest for the review of a raft of policies, both the Inspector General of Police, Japheth Koome and the Commissioner General of Prisons, Brigadier (Rtr) John Kebaso Warioba have recommended changes that will grant them more powers.
NPS representatives proposed that the IG be made the Chair of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC), which is the police administrative body. The proposal could see the IG take charge of both NPS and NPSC, a move that goes against previous reforms.
The decision to make the NPSC an independent body separate from the police was taken to ensure that the administrative needs of officers would be taken care of independently.
Additionally, the prisons department wants a position in the National Security Advisory Council, the country’s apex security advisory organ. The department wants the Commissioner General of Prisons to be included in the committee that advises the President directly on matters of national security.
“Currently, the Commissioner General of Prisons is not a member of the National Security Advisory Committee despite the critical mandate of KPS. Commissioner General of Prisons should be incorporated as a member in the National Security Advisory Committee,” part of the memorandum submitted by KPS reads.
Both NPS and KPS are seeking to have full financial control and independence.
Following President William Ruto’s move to make the Inspector General of Police the accounting officer for NPS, Kenya Prisons have made recommendations for similar changes to grant the KPS full financial control under the Commissioner General of Prisons.
“The implementation of KPS activities depends on the goodwill of the Principal Secretary who is the accounting officer. There is a need to decentralise finance, procurement and account services to Magereza House to ensure effective service delivery and address operational challenges within the service,” the memorandum by KPS reads in part.
Besides recommending that the Commissioner General of Prisons be made the accounting officer for KPS, the department of correctional services also wants more funding and has proposed an additional Sh18 billion to the current Sh29.7 billion.
Salaries remain a focal point for both the police and prisons departments and as expected, officers have proposed a salary increment.
Prisons officers lament that they haven’t had a salary review since 2003, and want the minimum pay for prisons constables increased by 150 per cent.
Currently, a prisons constable earns Sh20, 740 and should their demands be met, the lowest-earning prisons officer will take home Sh51,850.
They also want an increase in housing allowances by up to three times, from the current Sh9,500 to Sh28,500.
“House allowance given to officers is not commensurate to the prevailing market rates. House allowance should be increased by at least 200 per cent,” KPS said in its recommendations.
For police officers, the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) has recommended a salary increment of 79 per cent for constables, and up to 131 per cent for officers in the rank of superintendent (SP).
“The last time the National Police Service Commission reviewed Police basic salaries was in 2020. This was the fourth and the last phase of the job evaluation results for police officers negotiated between the NPSC and the SRC in 2017. This phase resulted in the basic salary of a Police Constable improving from Sh19,830 to Sh20,390, an increase of Sh560,” NPSC said in its submissions.
The commission has proposed that the salaries of police superintendents be increased by 131 per cent from Sh57,050 to Sh131,550, and that of senior superintendents (SSP) be increased by 121 per cent from Sh68,720 to Sh151,550.
NPSC has also recommended an upward review of extraneous and hardship allowances to 50 per cent and 30 per cent of the basic salary respectively. With regard to equipment, both NPS and KPS have recommended the establishment and direct control of their respective air wings.
Currently, the police air wing is under the management of the Kenya Defence Forces, and NPS has sought to have the management reverted back to the department from the military, two years after it was placed under the National Air Support Department (NASD).