- Written by Steve Nguru
- Category: Commissions Under the New Constitution
- Published: 22 August 2012
- Hits: 23
National Police Service Commission NPSC
Open. Accountable. Responsible
The NPSC is empowered to recruit officers to both the Police Services and make appointments of top officers. These powers were previously with the Office of the President.
The Commission will oversee the recruitment and discipline of all officers serving in the National Police Service.
The NPSC will be headed by six civilian Commissioners and the Inspector-General and the two deputy Inspector-Generals.
As a Commission, the National Police Service Commission NPSC, will act in such a manner as to "....... (a) protect the sovereignty of the people; (b) secure the observance by all State organs of democratic values and principles; and (c) promote constitutionalism." (Article 249).
This is a new Commission under the New Constitution anchored by Article 246, of Chapter 14 - National Security, and Article 248 of Chapter 15 - Commissions and Independent Offices. Excerpts:
246. (1) There is established the National Police Service Commission.
248. (2) The commissions are— (j) the National Police Service Commission.
The National Police Service Commission NPSC, has administrative authority over both the the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police Service. Previously, the Police (who were under the direct control of the Ministry of Internal Security under the Office of the President), conducted its own recruitment. These recruitment exercises were often not without controversy and generated strong public accusations of nepotism and lack of transparency. The Commission will now be the sole authority over recruitment, staffing, and posting operations of all Police Officers.
246. (3) The Commission shall— (a) recruit and appoint persons to hold or act in offices in the service, confirm appointments, and determine promotions and transfers within the National Police Service;
Old habits die hard and for close to a year after the General Elections of March 2013, the Commission and the Inspector General of Police (and who by the way is a member of the same Commission) were constantly differing on who had administrative authority over officers in the Service. So much so, that on the 27 March 2014, the High Court was called upon by way of a civil petition to make a determination on the legality or otherwise, of deployment (as opposed to appointments) of County Police Commanders by the Inspector General in June of the previous year. Although the Court ruling confirmed that such authority of deployment belonged to the IG and not the Commission, it was however of the view that the Commission exercised wide administrative functions over the Police Service according to Article 246. (3) above.
By reassigning this authority from the Service and by implication, the Office of the President, to an independent Commission, the New Constitution has (hopefully) effectively freed the Police from undue interference and manipulation from the political class (and the executive) and consequently strengthened its independence and ability to carry out its mandates.
Specifically, the role of the NPSC is to protect the rights and liberties of the men and women serving in the Kenya Police Service and the Administrative Police Service; and by extension, guarantee the rights and liberties of the people of Kenya when seeking Police services. Excerpts from Article 246:
246. (3) The Commission shall— (b) observing due process, exercise disciplinary control over and remove persons holding or acting in offices within the Service; and (c) perform any other functions prescribed by national legislation.
This is important as a measure of checks and balances to ensure that every officer is performing their work without fear of or intimidation by their superior officer. In the past, the Police handled their own internal affairs leading to partiality, cover-ups, intimidation, arbitrary sackings, etc. Only when the Police Service is properly functioning can it serve the interests of the wider public. Also, the National Police Service Commission Act, No 30 of 2011 assented to in November 2011, espouses the very provisions that guide the Commission as an oversight body over the National Police Service and the officers serving in it.
Johnstone Kavuludi, Chair of the National Police Service Commission
The NPSC shall ensure that the recruitment of the officers and the top leadership of both the Police Services reflects the diversity of Kenya's peoples:
246. (4) The composition of the National Police Service shall reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya.
The Commission will have nine members, to serve for a six year term:
(2) The Commission consists of— (a) the following persons, each appointed by the President— (i) a person who is qualified to be appointed as a High Court Judge; (ii) two retired senior police officers; and (iii) three persons of integrity who have served the public with distinction; (b) the Inspector-General of the National Police Service; and (c) both Deputy Inspectors-General of the National Police Service.
The six Commissioners listed in Clause (2) (a) were recruited by a specially constituted board, while those in clauses (b) and (c) were recruited by the six who were appointed by the President in October 2012, after vetting by the National Assembly.
1. Constitution of Kenya, 2010. National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney-General.
2. National Police Service Commission Act, 2011. National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney General.
3. International Centre For Policy and Conflict v Attorney General & 2 others  eKLR. Miscellanous Civil Case 226 of 2013. National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney General.