The police service has been restructured with the number of ranks being reduced to stabilise the force ahead of the March 4 General Election and to align it to the devolved system of government.
The National Police Service Commission created three new directorates and created the rank of a County Commander who will have two deputies — one in charge of regular and the other in charge of administration police. There will also be a county director of criminal investigations.
“This county command would be reporting to their respective counterparts at the national level. The county positions will soon be filled in an acting capacity taking into account competencies, integrity, gender balance, regional and ethnic balance,” commission chairman Johnston Kavuludi said.
The county commanders’ position marks a departure from the police command since independence which was based on the provincial administration system with each unit having a police boss.
In other changes, Antony Munga was named as the acting director of communications, the new title for police spokesman. Mr Munga, who was the officer commanding police division based at Nairobi’s Railway Police Station will be deputised by Mary Wangui Omari.
He replaced former police spokesman Eric Kiraithe ,who has moved to the Kenya Airports Authority as general manager in charge of security.
The commission also appointed Sicily Gatiti, currently serving at the Kenya Police Training College Kiganjo, to serve as the acting director of human resources while Charles Owino Wahong’o, the former deputy police spokesman, is the acting director of internal affairs.
The commission abolished five senior ranks in the regular and six in the Administration Police and announced a unified structure.
The new Kenya Police Service rank structure comprises the Inspector General of Police, two deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Inspector General, Senior Superintendent,, Assistant Superintendent, Chief Inspector, Inspector, Senior Sergeant, Sergeant, Corporal and Constable.
That means the ranks of Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police I and II, Deputy Commissioner of Police I, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police and Assistant Commissioner of Police have been abolished in line with the Constitution which only recognises the Inspector-General of Police and his deputies.
In the Administration Police Service, the rank of Commandant has been abolished and replaced with that of Deputy Inspector General of Administration Police Service.
Also abolished are the ranks of Senior Deputy Commandant I and II, Senior Deputy Commandant, Deputy Commandant, Senior Assistant Commandant and Assistant Commandant.
The ranks have been replaced by Assistant Inspector-General of Administration Police. The rank of Regimental/Senior Sergeant Major will be replaced with that of Inspector of Administration Police.
Mr Kavuludi said all senior positions would be filled competitively once a vetting criteria is established. “The commission will advertise all acting positions both at national and county level internally so that officers who are qualified compete for them,” he said.
The uniforms committee is also working on new insignia for the revised rank structure which will have to be approved by the commission.
Last week, President Mwai Kibaki appointed Grace Kaindi as the Deputy Inspector-General in charge of regular police, Samuel Arachi as Deputy Inspector General -Administration Police and Ndegwa Muhoro as the Director of CID.
The three have not been sworn in after Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he was not consulted before the appointments were made. Civil society groups have also questioned Ms Kaindi’s appointment because she had not applied for the position.
The integrity of Mr Muhoro is also the subject of investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission which said it had not cleared him.