Former Chief Justice David Maraga was Wednesday, December 21 appointed the chair of a 23-member task force to steer new reforms in police and prisons.
President William Ruto gazetted the names of the team whose work will be on improvement of the terms and conditions of service and other reforms for members of the National Police Service and the Kenya Prisons Service.
He said perennial welfare challenges continue to compromise the efficacy and ability of the police and prisons to effectively deliver on their solemn mandate.
Ruto said his administration has instituted reforms to steer the nation towards an autonomous, accountable, and responsive police and the ongoing reforms build on past efforts aimed at tooling and retooling of our security organs, as Kenya seeks to make our security organs more capable of addressing the security challenges that the country faces.
He added the imperative of strengthening the security sector remains a national priority and the primary means of surmounting the emerging and dynamic security challenges the country faces face.
“There is a compelling public interest in institutionalizing welfare reforms of our internal security organs whilst also fostering the citizen-facing service elements of the National Police Service whose pace of reform matches public expectations.”
Ruto named Carole Kariuki as the Vice Chairperson while Moffat Muriithi Kangi, John Ole Moyaki, Ibrahim Jillo Guyo, Richard Kirundi, Elizabeth Mueni, Roseline Odede, Joash Odhiambo Dache, Doreen Muthaura, Albert Mwenda, Terry Chebet Maina, Hassan Sheikh Mohamed, Capt. (Rtd.) Simiyu Werunga, Mutuma Ruteere and Anne Ireri as members.
Other members include Stephen Kayongo, Jafaar Mohamed, Sammy Chepkwony and Khadija Mire while Omwanza Ombati, Joy Mdivo Masinde and Rosemary Kamau will be Joint Secretaries.
The team is among others supposed to identify the legal, policy, administrative, institutional and operational constraints on effective service delivery by the NPS and the Kenya Prisons Service.
It will also identify and recommend legal, policy, administrative, institutional and operational reforms in the NPS and KPS for effective service delivery and review and recommend improvement of the terms and conditions of service.
The team will review and recommend improvement of matters relating to the welfare of officers in all cadres of the NPS and KPS and all other matters incidental to the optimal service delivery by the NPS and KPS.
It will also review and recommend any other matter incidental to improved terms and conditions of service and other reforms in the NPS and KPS.
On the welfare of members of the NPS and KPS, the team will examine the existing legislative, policy, institutional, administrative and operational structures, systems and strategies and recommend comprehensive reforms in the NPS and KPS.
It will also examine the extent of the uptake of the recommendations of previous Task Forces, including but not limited to the John Mutony, (2002–2003), the Philip Ransley (2009) and the Titus Naikuni (2010-2012) Task Forces.
It will also review the human capital management and development policies with a view of examining and reviewing standards and practices in recruitment, deployment, transfers, training, career progression, performance-based and competitive promotions, reward, exit, and post-exit management and recommend implementation of changes that enhance morale, meritocracy and professionalism in the NPS and KPS.
The task force will consider recommendations of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, National Police Service Commission, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Independent Policing Oversight Authority and any other recommendation on NPS and KPS welfare or reforms by any state organ.
It will also recommend a review of the remuneration of members of the NPS and KPS and consideration of new and applicable allowances to the NPS and KPS to enhance professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness of the NPS and KPS and assess the adequacy or otherwise of the current medical scheme for the NPS and KPS and recommend comprehensive reform or revision of the same with a view of improving it.
According to Ruto, the team will assess and recommend the establishment of funds or schemes to cater for loss of life or injuries in the line of duty, terminal illness including mental health illness, and possibly legal and administrative framework to cater for NPS and KPS officers’ dependants.
It will further assess and recommend improvement of working and living conditions of members of the NPS and KPS and assess the adequacy or otherwise of the current housing policy for members of the NPS and KPS and where appropriate, recommend a review of the same including a recommendation for a housing mortgage for officers.
It will examine all capacity-building measures including training curriculum, syllabus, continuous development training, reward measures and recommend reforms including the incorporation of incentives for police and prison officers especially the lower cadres to address professionalism, motivation and retention.
Further, it will consider the integration or otherwise of constitutional human rights and fundamental freedoms in the training and curriculum for NPS and KPS officers, including the application of international instruments ratified by the State.
“Assess issues of gender mainstreaming, sexual harassment, gender-based violence, the establishment of gender desks, psychological support, guidance and counseling at station level and any other recommendation to improve the mental wellbeing of the NPS and KPS.”
The team will assess, consider, review and recommend the nature, quality and standard of the uniform for NPS and KPS officers as well as that of prisoners/inmates.
On the technical and operational capability of the NPS and KPS, the team will assess, and review the tooling, equipping, logistical and technological capacity of the NPS and recommend changes necessary to sustain modern security management, disaster management, conflicts and early warning, rapid response systems and joint operational preparedness strategy.
The Maraga team will assess the adequacy, sufficiency or otherwise of NPS tools, equipment, gear, communication and surveillance measures including the use of drones and make appropriate recommendations including modernization and embracing technology in policing;
It will assess the necessity of adopting and operationalizing ICT usage in all NPS and KPS operations including the adoption of digital occurrence books, body cameras, vehicle cameras, and smart and intelligent surveillance equipment, among others, consistent with the Constitution.
It will also assess and recommend general reforms and improvement of NPS and KPS premises, including titling of all NPS and KPS land, progressive adoption and building of modern police stations that comply with international best practices and standards.
Further, it will assess and consider the administration of the forensic laboratory with a view to ensuring more independence in its operations and decision-making and expanding its usage by multiple agencies within the criminal justice system.
“Assess and propose the review of reporting command, governance and accountability framework within the NPS and KPS and assess the implication on command and good order of NPS following the restructuring/merger of the Administration Police Service and Kenya Police Service,” reads part of the notice.
The team will also assess and recommend the establishment of clear guidelines on the formation of specialized units within the NPS and assess and consider opportunities and platforms for benchmarking on regional and international standards and exchange programs with a view to modernizing policing and correctional services.
It will further assess the legal and administrative framework to operationalize community policing with a view of embracing all-inclusive measures to combat crime and undertake a comprehensive audit of a legal framework to assess its consistencies and adequacy in executing the constitutional and statutory mandate of the NPS and KPS.
It will identify and propose any legislative and policy review, including a review of standing orders, necessary to give effect to the recommendations of the Task Force and make any other recommendation(s) incidental to the improvement of terms and conditions of service for members of NPS and KPS.
The team shall regulate its own procedure and, may co-opt any person(s) as it may consider necessary or expedient for the proper performance of its functions, hold public hearings including pre-hearings and in exceptional circumstances and when necessary, hold hearings or receive information in camera.
The terms say the team will record all its hearings on Hansard or any other manner embracing technology and where appropriate administer oaths or affirmations or take statements.
They will hold meetings, forums or consultations as it may deem necessary in such places and at such times as it may consider necessary for the proper discharge of its mandate, consider reports of past or ongoing initiatives towards enhancing the legal, policy and institutional framework on NPS and KPS reforms and welfare.
The team will review official reports, policy, legislative or any other document related to the Task Force mandate and carry out or cause to be carried out such studies or research as may be necessary to assist the Task Force in the discharge of its mandate.
Ruto promised to improve the salaries of both police and prison officers and it is part of the reasons he created the team.