In Focus - Policing
Building understanding among all of our stakeholders is one of the most interesting parts of being the Technical Lead for Policing – and overall Head of Technical Delivery – of Jamii Thabiti.
In order to succeed in reforming police processes, we need to have access to and good relationships with all people and organisations throughout the Kenyan police structures – that includes the police themselves, senior government officials, training colleges, policing institutions and commissions, highly experienced bureaucrats and more. Our interactions with all these people and organisations is key and, throughout the project, we have developed effective and diplomatic ways both of approaching them and of adapting to different contextual challenges.
It’s by no means an easy process: all the people we work with are extremely busy and have differing priorities and time constraints. A lot of our work is to make policy developments, but in government, policy changes have budgetary implications and may not mesh with certain departments’ or organisations’ priorities. It’s our job to work with all of the relevant stakeholders not just to help them understand the value of what we’re doing, but to show them that if they take ownership of their participation and implementation of the process, the result will be more effective for the whole country. We work to break down the often complex processes of reform to help our stakeholders take it from paper to practice.
The development of the National Police Service Standing Orders has been a stand out piece of Jamii Thabiti work for me. When the reform process of Kenyan police entered a new phase in 2010 (following adoption of a new constitution), a lot of people didn’t believe that there would be a successful transformation from a police force to a police service. The work involved the merging of the administration police and the Kenyan police into a unified police service, governed by one set of standing orders.
What we had to do was convert the old force standing orders into a new set of policy guidelines that the merging organisations could both work to and that did not conflict with the new National Police Service Act. We used our technical knowledge to conduct gap analyses on the process and build a detailed roadmap for it, and then our relationships and understanding of the Kenyan policing landscape to bring together different interests and departments and help all of the stakeholders to understand the purpose and the process of our work.
As is stands, the new National Police Service Standing Orders are waiting to go before Parliament. It makes me very proud as a Kenyan to have been part of this process, helping to usher in a reform process that will contribute to a stronger and unified policing service for our country.