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The Role of the County Policing Authority in Kenya

Section 41 of the National Police Service Act (2011) establishes the County Policing Authority. This is a body that should incorporate members of the county government, security bodies and the citizens in security management at the county level.

The National Police Service Act (Section 41:8) mandates the chairperson of the Council of Governors, in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Security, to issue and publish the Gazette guidelines to follow during the nomination, appointment, removal from office, vacancy of office and filling of vacancy of members of the Authority.

In exercise of the powers conferred by section 41(8) of the National Police Service Act, 2011, the Chairperson of the Council of Governors in consultation with Cabinet Secretary issued the Guidelines to operationalise the County Policing Authority in 2015.

Each of the 47 Counties should establish their own County Policing Authority. 

However, the process of establishing the County Policing Authority in each of the 47 counties has been a challenge. This has stemmed mostly from frustration of the process by officials from the national government and the National Police Service. Security is a national government function and hence the opposition for counties to take part in its management.

Some of the issues raised to oppose the county government involvement in managing security include that it amounts to ‘interference’ in police work. The national government also thinks (as already stated) that security is an exclusive function of the national government that should not be devolved.

The “Nyumba Kumi” initiative by the national government took precedence over the County Policing Authority. The initiative complements the community policing initiative. It requires each person to ensure their safety and that of their neighbour. This is by knowing their neighbours and what they do in life.

Members of the County Policing Authority

The following should be the composition of the County Policing Authority:

  • The County Governor, who should be the Chairperson;
  • A representative of the National Intelligence Service;
  • county representatives appointed by the Inspector-General, who shall comprise the heads of the National Police Service and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations at the county level;
  • two elected members nominated by the County Assembly;
  • the chairperson of the County Security Committee;
  • at least six other members (non-state members) appointed by the Governor, from among the following categories of persons ordinarily resident in the county— the business sector, community-based organizations, women, persons with special needs, religious organizations, and the youth.

The Governor may authorise the Deputy Governor to chair the meetings of the County Policing Authority in his or her absence.

The County Public Service Board should recruit the non-state members of the County Policing Authority the governor appoints through a competitive process. The County Security Committee should receive the names of these nominated members for vetting and subsequent thereto, the County Assembly for approval.

In nominating and appointing the non-state members, the nominating bodies, public service office at the County level and Governor should— (a)  uphold the principle of one-third gender representation; and (b) ensure geographical representativeness of the county; and may nominate more than one representative in respect of each category.

The non-state members should serve for a term of two years and shall be eligible for reappointment for one further term.

In the absence of the chairperson, the members should elect one of their members to chair the meetings of the County Policing Authority.

Qualifications for non-state members

A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a non-state member of the County Policing Authority if that person—

  • has violated the Constitution;
  • is adjudged bankrupt;
  • is not of good character or moral standing;
  • has been convicted of a felony; or
  • has not been resident or employed in the county for a continuous period of not less than three years.

The officer responsible for coordination of operations of the National Police Service in the County should designate a police officer not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police, as the secretary to the Authority.

Functions of the County Policing Authority

The functions of the authority should be to:

  • develop proposals on priorities, for police performance in the county;
  • monitor trends and patterns of crime in the county including those with a specific impact on women and children;
  • monitor progress and achievement of set targets;
  • to provide oversight of the budget of the funds of the county policing authority;
  • provide feedback on performance of the police service at the county level;
  • provide a platform through which the public participates on the all aspects relating to county policing;
  • ensure policing accountability to the public;
  • receive reports from Community Policing Forums and Committees; and
  • ensure compliance with the national policing standards.

Every Authority should prepare, publicize and submit quarterly reports to the Inspector-General, Cabinet Secretary, County Assembly and Governor— (a) accounting for the status and progress on each of the functions with which it is charged; and (b) the impediments to the performance of those functions.

The County Policing Authority should not interfere with:

  • the investigation of any particular offence or offences;
  • the enforcement operations of the law against any particular person or persons;
  • the employment, assignment, promotion, suspension or dismissal of any member of the Service; or
  • the operations of the National Police Service.

Every County Policing Authority may establish such committees as may be necessary for the performance of its functions.

Meetings of the Authorities

Every County Policing Authority should meet at least once every three months at a time and venue the Chairperson determines.

The Cabinet Secretary should issue policy guidelines on the conduct of business of the Authority and any other matter necessary for the efficient operation of the Authority.

The quorum of the Authority should be fifty per cent of the total members.

Payment of allowances

Members of the Authority should be paid such allowances as may be determined from time to time by the Cabinet Secretary on the advice of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission in accordance with rules published in the Gazette.

Funds for County Policing Authorities

The expenses of the County Policing Authorities shall be met by the National Police Service.

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George Githinji

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