National Police Service, KDF clash over new badges

Chairman of the taskforce on police reforms, retired judge Philip Ransley PHOTO:COURTESY

The new police insignias are creating confusion as they resemble those of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).

The National Police Service has adopted new ranks with insignias that are clashing with those worn by KDF officers.

This creates confusion whenever commanders from both police and military meet, especially in tours abroad.

Police insiders say they have proposed to the Inspector General of Police to urgently constitute a uniform committee to review the ranks that were introduced in the ongoing reforms.

“We know some of our colleagues have petitioned for the composition of a uniform committee to address the issue urgently. It is embarrassing,” said an official who did not wish to be named.

In the new ranks, an Inspector General of Police wears a badge that resembles that of the four-star general in the KDF. The police chief is Joseph Boinnet and General Samson Mwathethe is the Chief of Defence Forces.


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The Deputy Inspector General of Police, both in Kenya Police and Administration Police, have a badge equivalent to the three-star Lieutenant General in the KDF.

A police officer in the rank of Senior Assistant Inspector General wears a badge similar to that of the two-star Major General in KDF while an Assistant Inspector General of Police is equivalent to one star Brigadier in the military.

Commissioner of Police

Then there is a rank of Commissioner of Police, which however does not have its equal in the military. It was introduced long after the rest.

A police officer of the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police has an insignia equivalent to Colonel in the Kenyan military while a Superintendent is equivalent to the Lieutenant Colonel.

Meanwhile, an Assistant Superintendent in the police has a badge similar to that of a Major in the military while that of the Chief Inspector in the police resembles that of a Captain in military.

A badge of an Inspector is similar to that of a Lieutenant.


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A senior Sergeant in the police has an insignia that mirrors that of a Senior Sergeant in KDF. That of Sergeant in the police resembles the one of a Sergeant in KDF while a constable is of same rank as that of Private and Corporal in the military.

Boinnet refused to comment saying it is an internal issue that is being addressed internally. Boinnet is the second IG under the new structure.

The National Task Force on Police Reforms headed by South African retired Judge Philip Ransley recommended measures to transform the police service into an efficient, effective, professional and accountable security agency.

The need for police reforms was reinforced by the Waki Commission following an inquiry into the 2007 post-election violence where more than 1,000 people were killed.

This was after police were largely blamed for the violence that broke out after the disputed presidential elections.



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