By Dickens Wasonga.
The 7000 young Kenyans hoping to be enlisted into the yet to be established Kenya Police Service will for the first time ever appear before a recruitment panel instituted to ensure the exercise is free and fair.
And unlike in the past , the exercise will be carried out in the presence of several observer groups and eligible candidates will be given the opportunity to chose either to serve as the regular or administration police officers.
But they will also have to apply for the job by filling in an application form to show they have an interest to be hired.
Another noticeable departure from the past is the fact that the recruitment for APs and the regular police officers will be held jointly and in a single day countrywide unlike in the past where such exercises were carried out in different dates.
As part of the police reforms which were launched in the year 2003 the police officers seeking to be absorbed will now be hired by a district recruitment committee which will be chaired by the district commissioners and assisted by relevant technical officers drawn from various government ministries.
The officers will include the Officer commanding police divisions, the district officers of health, the district education officers, district registrar of persons and the district intelligence officers and their criminal investigations counterpart.
Even a religious groups will be represented together with the business community. Reporters will also be allowed unlimited access to cover the exercise and no team should bar the press from the recruitment venues.
According to the deputy police spokes person Mr Charles Owino, the changes are intended to ensure the process of hiring recruits is not only free and fair but also responsive and representative to the needs of the citizenry.
Owino said the rot that has bedeviled the force in the past was partly due to the poor recruitment exercises which were riddled by nepotism and claims of corruption.
” If you get the process of hiring wrong then the whole intention of having a professional system can not be met” he said
The senior officer who spoke to journalists at Kisumu’s Tom Mboya Labor college during a briefing of the new guidelines to officers who will oversea the coming exercise from Nyanza and Western provinces. He said constables picked will during the exercise will undergo 15 months training either at the Administration police training college in Embakasi, Kenya Police Training College in Kiganjo or the G.S.U training school in Nairobi.
The commissioned cadet officers will undergo 21 months training under a new curriculum for the two services .
Part of the members of the district recruitment committee follow proceedings of the meeting at Tom Mboya Labor College .
Out of the number targeted for the exercise, 10 per cent should be graduates while 30 per cent will be women in line with the government’s affirmative action.
The Nyanza Central regional commissioner warned the recruiting teams to avoid the temptation to favor any applicant who fails to meet the set requirements and pledged that the government will disciple those found engaging in corruption during the exercise.
Height of candidates which in the past barred many hopefuls from joining the force will not be an issue to look at this time and any candidate eliminated must be told by the recruiting teams the reason why they have to be dropped at every level.
The teams were also directed to ignore directives from any senior officer either from the force or the government departments who try to influence the out come of the recruitment exercise.
In the past senior police officers from police headquarters and senior government officials, MPs and ministers have been accused of demanding to be given slots to have their friends or relatives hired in the respective districts.