Senators query policy over new police uniform

26Sep 2020
The Guardian
Senators query policy over new police uniform

​​​​​​​Senators have questioned the directive by the National Police Service (NPS) ordering police officers to secure the new uniforms from their own pockets, warning that the decree is unlawful and a threat to national security.

In particular, the lawmakers expressed indignation at the decision by NPS to decentralise the procurement of police uniforms which allows every officer to procure the kits from their own tailor.

In the debate in the House, senators want to know whether there exists National Police Uniform Policy guidelines in the Police Service, its contents explained and the Ministry of Interior to produce a circular requiring officers to purchase their own uniforms from a recommended tailor.

"When you go around the city ordinary tailors are making police uniforms. This is a security scare because some elements in society can take advantage to harass the public," Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei told the House.

Nairobi Regional Commander Rashid Yakub last week warned of disciplinary action against officers who report to work in the old attire and instead asked officers to put on the new medium blue uniform, except for the formed-up units who have their own order of dressing.

"All officers are cautioned against mixing uniforms, or wearing non-uniform items alongside the uniform. Failure to comply with these instructions will attract serious disciplinary action," Mr Yakub said in the directive.

Senators on Thursday faulted the directive and warned that it will open the doors for deviant individuals to take advantage and masquerade as police officers.

"Asking the police to secure their own uniforms is a big problem because it provides an opportunity for anyone to buy the kits," Wajir Senator Ibrahim Ali said, demanding that the directive should be suspended forthwith and the government forced to supply uniform to officers.

The matter was brought to the House by  Cherargei who sought a statement from the Ministry of Interior on the directive.

Cherargei further wants the Ministry to explain whether the NPS has provided officers with allowances to purchase the uniforms and whether there is a specific timeline for the officers to transit from the old to the new uniform.

The lawmaker further wants the NPS to furnish the House with a list of companies given the tender to supply the new uniform.

"The idea of asking officers to procure uniforms from ordinary tailors is a security threat," he added.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula said it was dangerous that the officers are being asked to purchase their own uniforms.

"We have known police officers to be given uniform made centrally with particular features that are difficult to imitate," he said, adding that such features make it easy for the officers to be identified.

Wajir Senator Ali Abdullahi said that opening up the procurement to ordinary tailors is dangerous as it provides security challenges.

"We need specific contractors to make police uniforms because buying police uniforms anywhere means that we could have many fake police officers harassing the public."

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina said that if the directive is to hold, then Parliament must enact a law so that billions of unaccounted for funds in State agencies are set aside to support the NPS.