Police Reforms : Kenya

What We do

Police Reforms : Kenya

Kenya is in the process of undertaking significant reforms to the police service.  The objective of the police reforms is to transform the Police to a professional, efficient and accountable police service that is trusted by the public. After the extreme violence that followed the national elections in 2007, and the subsequent allegations of police involvement, a Police Reform Taskforce was established to investigate and recommend reforms to the police service.  The Police Reform Taskforce Report (also called the Ransley Report) reviewed the police structures and systems and recommended wide-ranging reforms to the police service, including the restructuring of the police services to create:

  • One National Police Service that brings both the Kenya National Police and Administration Police under the leadership of the one Inspector-General;
  • The National Police Service Commission to manage the employment and discipline of police officers; and
  • The Independent Policing Oversight Authority to independently investigate serious complaints of police misconduct and recommend action.

The Constitution of Kenya, made law in 2010, entrenched this new system, and new laws were passed to fully establish the three bodies listed above:

  • The National Police Service Act 2011
  • The National Police Service Commission Act 2011
  • The Independent Policing Oversight Authority 2011

Summaries of the laws

In 2012 CHRI is partnering with key Kenyan NGO, The Release Political Prisoners Trust  to prepare simple summaries of the new police laws for the general public. 

Holding the police accountable

In 2012 CHRI is also partnering with The Usalama Reforms Forum to prepare a range of materials [hyperlink to materials] for both the public and the police to explain the new systems for maintaining police accountability. 

Working in collaboration with partners

CHRI is working with a wide range of civil society organisations on the ground advocating for police and criminal justice reform, such as The Usalama Reform Forum and Katiba Institute. The Usalama Reform Forum, is an organisation that brings together leading civil society organisations working in the area of security sector reform.  Usalama has played a significant role in the police reform movement in Kenya, establishing itself as the key security sector civil society organisation.  CHRI is a founding member of Usalama. Katiba Institute was established in 2011 to promote knowledge and studies of constitutionalism and to facilitate the implementation of Kenya’s new constitution.

Legal analysis and advocacy

From 2009 to 2011 CHRI, through Usalama, played a leading role in legal analysis on the police reform legislation.  The legislation was amended before it was passed into law in 2011, and reflected many of the suggested changes of CHRI and Usalama. Since 2011 CHRI has prepared a number of submissions on amendment acts and police regulations. [hyperlink to submissions]

Key reports

The status of policing and police reform in Kenya is discussed in CHRI’s 2014 regional report ‘A Force for Good? Improving the Police in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda’. CHRI also published a seminal report regarding police accountability in Kenya in 2006 titled ‘The Police, The People, The Politics: Police Accountability in Kenya’. In 2005, CHRI also published a report on the policing budgets in Kenya, looking at the impact that funding has on police performance, crime management and community safety titled ‘A Review of the Kenya Police Force Budget and its Effect on Crime Management’.