Police uniform must be protected at all costs
The National Police Service (NPS) has undergone a tremendous change. From the recommendations of the 2003 taskforce on police reforms to the 2011 National Police Act the objective has always been one; to provide security to all citizens.
In 2018, another milestone was registered in the Service with the merger of the Kenya Police and the Administration Police.
Following the “marriage”, a new set of uniform was unveiled and in the words of President Uhuru Kenyatta, “the uniform will enhance better visibility for the officers”.
Challenges in getting the new uniform for the thousands of officers prompted a recent declaration that the clothes can be made by ordinary tailors and officers procure them.
However, the fact that the uniform can be procured from any tailor at Sh3,500 is worrying. All a tailor requires is individual measurements and they are good to go.
Badges that indicate rank are easily obtained at the National Youth Service and even these can be acquired from the tailor with prior notice.
Journalists have walked to such tailors and left with a set or two of new police uniforms.
We wonder whether the people in charge of the Force have pondered the implications of such easy access to police uniform.
In the past weeks, we have seen reports of the re-emergence of criminal gangs.
These thugs will go to any lengths to have an upper hand against the security forces.
Camouflage is an art of war; the easiest way to beat officers at their game is to dress like them.
Many people will give access to anyone dressed like a policeman; that is why being in possession of police uniform and pretending to be an officer is an offence.
It is incomprehensible what thugs can do with the easily available uniform. For decades, the clothes have been procured and disposed of by the government.
Pushing officers to acquire the same with little regard to where they can be purchased was not diligent.
The order should only be placed once all officers have been issued with the new regalia.
For the safety and easy execution of duties by officers the order should be reconsidered.
The many tailors who have the uniforms should be asked to surrender them to the government.
Strict adherence to the laws that prohibit civilians from possessing such regalia should be enforced.
That is why, for many years, equipment and orders associated with security forces have been sacrosanct.
The firearm, the uniform and even the command structure must be protected at all costs.