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Why police are unhappy with new pay award

Details of new police salaries show a paltry increment in what has been termed as an “interim” award.

According to the pay structure, the lowest paid officer will now earn Sh18,760 – an increment of only Sh1,570 – from this month.

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Police officers of the lower cadre will get a nine per cent increase while those of the higher cadre will receive only three per cent in the first phase. The increment has drawn criticism among many officers, who feel it is too little.

Interim minimum

But insiders in the service revealed that the increment followed crisis meetings spearheaded by the National Police Service Commission. The Treasury and the Salaries Remuneration Commission were also involved.

NPSC Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said the award was interim.

“We are pleased to announce interim minimum revised salaries for uniformed officers in the National Police Service, with the lowest paid officers (constables) receiving a 19 per cent salary increment and those in the rank of senior assistant inspector general awarded a 6 per cent salary rise,” they said in a joint statement.

The statement added that consultations on the award of a comprehensive revised pay structure for all uniformed officers are ongoing and will be made public in due course.

And after the conclusion of the 2017 General Election, the commission has reopened talks for increased pay for the officers, officials aware of the development said. The increase affects both the National Police Service and the Kenya Prisons Service.

The announcement of the pay increase, made three days to the General Election, drew reactions from junior officers who termed it an insult as it did not meet their expectations and was not commensurate to the work they do.

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Currently, the salaries vary depending on one’s experience. Apart from the basic salaries, allowances also differ. The National Police Service has 12 job grades and the civil service has 19 pay scales.

Constables, the lowest-ranked and who are majority, are on scale PG1 while senior officers fall in PG 12.

The ongoing talks are expected to be in tandem with a salary scheme developed by National Police Service Commission.

In the new pay, a constable who has been earning Sh17,800 will get Sh18,760 while a senior assistant inspector general will get Sh185,760, up from Sh180,090.

A constable gets an allowance of Sh7,000, a corporal Sh7,800, a sergeant Sh8,540, a senior sergeant Sh9,000, an inspector Sh12,000, a chief inspector Sh16,000, a superintendent Sh26,500 and a senior superintendent Sh26,500.

There are 70,485 constables and 13,318 corporals. Sergeants total 4,576 and senior sergeants 1,890. Inspectors are 6,383 and chief inspectors, who make majority of officers commanding station (OCS), are 1,295.

The Government is awarding the officers other allowances recommended in reforms geared at making the force a world-class service.

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Those to receive increased allowances include officers from the Presidential Escort, GSU G Company, Flying Squad, Special Crime Prevention Unit, AP Rapid Deployment and Border Patrol units, instructors, police air wing and animal handlers.

Others will benefit when allowances that are common to the civil service — such as housing and hardship allowances — are reviewed.

The National Task Force on Police Reforms, which set targets for the increases, had recommended that the entry point for a police constable be raised to Sh34,000. Police have challenges that include poor pay, inadequate housing, poor training and low morale.

As part of efforts to address human resource issues in the service, the National Police Service Commission has developed 19 sub-schemes of service that will guide career progression of technical personnel who wish to join the service.

Other cadres are legal, civil engineering, electrical, electronics engineering, mechanical engineering, telecommunications engineering, aircraft maintenance and pilots. These professionals will join the service at slightly higher grades owing to their qualifications.

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