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Bill seeking to establish psychosocial support centres for police introduced in Parliament

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024 16:00 | By
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome during a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome during a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday. PHOTO/Samuel Kariuki.

The Members of Parliament (MPs) have started deliberating on a Bill seeking to establish psychosocial support centres for police officers.

According to the National Assembly notice on Wednesday, June 5, the National Police Service Commission (Amendment) Bill 2024 is sponsored by Suna West MP Peter Masara.

The Bill which has been read for the first time in Parliament, seeks to introduce measures for the mental wellness and wellbeing of police officers.

Masara also wants psychosocial support centres introduced to help police officers cope with various mental issues.

Members of Parliament during one of their session. PHOTO/@NAssemblyKE/X
Members of Parliament during one of their session. PHOTO/@NAssemblyKE/X.

"The Bill seeks to make provision for the mental wellness and wellbeing of police officers including and not limited to the establishment of psychosocial support centers for police officers," a notice from the National Assembly read in part.

"Having been read for the first time on the floor of the House, the Bill recognizes that in the execution of their tasks, police officers work in a potentially confusing roles alternating between law enforcement and public service and constantly face danger or mortality to ensure the safety of others," it added.

While presenting the Bill in the House, MP Peter Masara argued that police officers face unique challenges which makes their work stressful.

He further stated that if the Bill is passed into law, the police officers will get more value for their work and sacrifices to protect the citizens.

"The Bill further states that due to the unique challenges of policing, police officers inflict harm on human beings as their work is more stressful than other jobs," the National Assembly quoted Masara's submission.

If enacted, the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) will be mandated with promoting mental health among police officers.

Part of reforms recommended by taskforce

Former Chief Justice David Maraga's Taskforce on Police and Prison Welfare and Reforms also presented similar recommendations to the report presented to President William Ruto.

Police, Prisons personnel pay to match NIS, military chiefs
Former Chief Justice David Maraga at State House in Nairobi on Thursday, November 16, 2023. PHOTO/PCS.

The taskforce recommended a raft of reforms including those touching on the welfare of police officers in the country. It recommended improvement of working and living conditions of members of the National Police Service (NPS).

It also examined all capacity-building measures including training curriculum, syllabus, continuous development training, reward measures and recommended reforms including the incorporation of incentives for police and prison officers, especially the lower cadres.

President William Ruto's administration is expected to implement some of the recommendations contained in the report.

The team was appointed on December 21, 2022 where Ruto tasked them to help the country implement police reforms in the country.

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