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The Kenya Police Service is a national body in charge of law enforcement in Kenya. While organised at a national level, each arm reports to a County police Commander, which in turn divides its force by local Police Divisions headquartered at local police stations. All these element report to a Kenya Police Headquarters in Nairobi, and several specialist elements, such as the Kenya Police College, are commanded directly from here. An Administration Police service is commanded through a hierarchy separate from that of the National Kenya Police.[5] For other state security bodies see Law enforcement in Kenya.

Kenya Police Service [1]
Polisi wa Kenya
Kenya Police Patch.png
The Kenya Police patch.
Kenya Police Flag.gif
Flag of the Kenya Police
Common nameKenya Police
MottoUtumishi kwa Wote
(English: "Service to All")
Agency overview
Formed1906 [2]
Employeesapprox. 35,000 to 42,000[3][4]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionKEN
Kenya location map Copy.png
Map of Kenya Police Service [1]'s jurisdiction.
Size581,309 square kilometres (224,445 sq mi)
Legal jurisdictionKenya
Governing bodyKenya
General nature
HeadquartersVigilance House, Harambee Ave, Nairobi

Police Officers42,000 (approx)[3][4]
Agency executive
CountiesCounties of Kenya
AirbasesWilson Airport
Mil Mi-17, MBB Bo 105 Cessnas15
General Service Unit police condon off Uhuru Park to bar opposition from holding their mass protest rally: January 2008.



The Kenya police force was established as a British colonial police force in 1907. From the 1887 to 1902 policing was provided by the East Africa Trading Company. After 1902 the Kenya-Uganda Railway introduced their own police units.[6]

In 1906 the Police Ordinance was established to create a new force in 1907, the Nairobi Mounted Police within the jurisdiction of the East Africa Protectorate. The current force's name came into effect in 1920 with the newly created British Kenya Colony.

The colonial force was made up mainly of British and Indian recruits as senior officers and Africans amongst lower ranks.[6]

Following Kenya's independence, the British officers were replaced with local Kenyan members.

Current structureEdit

The current Kenyan Police Service reports to the Inspector-General of Police (Kenya), and is a department of Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government,[7] one of the two ministries in the Office of the President. As of October 2003 the force fielded about 35,000 officers[8] and is divided into eleven service and one training formations, who work in divisions in each of the eight provinces. Each county is headed by a Provincial Police Officer (PPO); each province is further divided into police divisions headed by an Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) normally in the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP). The police divisions are divided into police stations headed by an Officer Commanding Police Station (OCS).

Kenya Police Headquarters is located at Vigilance House on Harambee Avenue in Nairobi's Central business district. The Deputy Inspector General is responsible for all administrative and personnel matters affecting the force. The Kenyan Police force is governed by the Force standing orders which establishes the formation of various units and their scope of work.

Every unit of the Kenya Police Force now undergoes specialized officer training. Among the international police training associations that have been given this task, the most notable are the World Police Academy in Canada and the Dallas Police Department in USA. The World Police Academy is a premier police training institution that is also a global security and police think tank. It offers democracies in developing economies the opportunity to introduce Canadian policing standards into the senior ranks of their police forces.[9] Getting this academy to undertake this training was achieved by the progressive thinking of current Kenyan police chiefs. The Dallas Police Department has a recognizable brand of policing and their systems are respected in many areas of the USA. Securing the training from such renowned training institutions is a positive approach for the future security of Kenya.

With the 2010 Constitution, Kenya police force and the Administration Police were rebranded to National Police Service ( This is a wider part of long-term integration of various police units.

Current FormationsEdit

The current Inspector General is Joseph Kipchirchir Boinett following the introduction of the position to replace the police commissioner. He is the second holder of the position after David Mwole Kimaiyo.[10] The immediate former police commissioner is Mathew Kirai Iteere who is also the former General Service Unit (GSU) commandant.[11] He was deputised by the Principal Deputy Police Commissioner, Francis Okonya. Julius Ndegwa is the Director of Police Operations. The Kenya Police is divided into the following formations;[12] the unit commandants/directors generally hold the rank of Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police (S/DCP) I or II, or Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (S/ACP):

  1. General Service Unit (GSU): both headquarters and training school are in Nairobi; the Commandant is Joel Mboya Kitili
  2. Anti Stock Theft Unit: it is situated at Gilgil in Naivasha district, 117 km from Nairobi
  3. Criminal Investigation Department: It is headquartered in Karura, Nairobi. In August 2010 Ndegwa Muhoro was appointed CID Director[13]
  4. Traffic Police Department: headed by Charlton Murithi, with main offices in Nairobi
  5. Kenya Police College: located in Kiganjo; commanding officer is Peter Kavila
  6. Kenya Police Air Wing: has its offices in Nairobi, led by Colonel Rodgers Mbithi
  7. Kenya Railways Police: commanded in Nairobi by Kirimi Ringera
  8. Kenya Police Dog Unit: unit chief is Dr Gideon Ngumi in Nairobi
  9. Tourism Police Unit: led by Jostine Barmao with offices in Old Nairobi Area Provincial Police Hqrs.
  10. Kenya Airports Police Unit: headed by Joseph ole Tito with offices in Nairobi and three divisions (Nairobi, Eldoret, Moi airports)
  11. Maritime Police Unit: headquartered at Kilindini Harbour in Mombasa, commanded by Stanley Lenamai
  12. Diplomatic Police Unit: Allan Sangaro leads the unit from the Nairobi offices, deputy commandant is Ambrose Mwawaka

Societal impactEdit

Police Vehicle in Kenya

Following a history of human rights abuses by the Kenya Police, efforts are being made to reform the force.[14] Kenyan policemen are poorly paid and have to make use with archaic housing that has not been expanded or renovated since the 1970s. This has made them very susceptible to corruption and crime. Extortion and bribery are not unknown practices and the Kenyan people rank the police among the most corrupt bodies in the country.[15][16] In July 2010 the Minister, Prof. George Saitoti, announced a 28% pay increase for junior officers and a 25% pay increase for senior officers. This reform means that the most junior officer, a Police Constable, shall receive Ksh 21,000/month including allowances.[17][18]

Police ranksEdit

Kenya Police Air Wing
Kenya Police Mil Mi-17

The Kenya Police wear badges of rank on the shoulders (Inspector-GeneralInspector) and sleeve (Senior SergeantConstable) of their uniform to denote their rank. In line with the ongoing reforms, the uniforms committee is also working on new insignia for the revised rank structure, which will have to be approved by the National Police Service Commission.[19] The order of Kenya Police ranks is as follows:[20]

Former Kenya Police ranks and insignia can be found at this reference.[21]

Commissioners of Police & Inspectors-GeneralEdit

From 1906 to 1964 the force was headed by British officers.

The following officers have to date served in the capacity of Commissioner of Police:[22]

The following officers have served as Inspector-General:

Ongoing changesEdit

Following the promulgation of the new Constitution of Kenya on 27 August 2010, as laid down in Chapter 17 Part 4, the Kenyan police forces is undergoing a series of reforms. Hence called The Kenya Police Service, it is now headed by an Deputy Inspector-General and the division of its functions are organised to take into account the devolved structure of government in Kenya.


The equipment of the Kenya Police and General Service Unit (GSU), a paramilitary wing of the Kenyan Police, comprises:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Police Service".
  2. ^ "Strategic Plan" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b Interpol Kenya. "FAQ". Interpol.
  4. ^ a b "Record number of Kenya police graduates in April". 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  5. ^ "(2010) Crime and Development in Kenya".
  6. ^ a b Sommer, Hans-Martin. "History of the Police in Kenya 1885-1960".
  7. ^ "Kenya Police". Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.
  8. ^ "Kenya: The police service, including chain of command, officer ranks, badge identification, police headquarters and stations". UNHCHR. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  9. ^ "Welcome to World Police Academy". World Police Academy. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  10. ^ Structure and Composition of the National Police Service [1]
  11. ^ a b Daily Nation, 8 September 2009: Kibaki moves Ali, names new Kenya police boss
  12. ^ "Kenya Police Formation". Kenya Police. Archived from the original on 27 July 2010.
  13. ^ "Kibaki names new CID boss". Daily Nation.
  14. ^ "".
  15. ^ Survey: Police are most corrupt in Kenya. United Press International. 18 July 2008
  16. ^ Kenya police still most corrupt. BBC News. 21 August 2007.
  17. ^ "Kenya police get pay raise". Daily Nation.
  18. ^ "Crime and Development in Kenya".
  19. ^ "Number of senior police ranks reduced to boost service". Business Daily Africa. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  20. ^ Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution. "The National Police Service (Amendment) Billl, 2013". Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  21. ^ Kenya Police. "Kenya Police - Insignia". Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Former Commissioners". Kenya Police. Archived from the original on 31 July 2010.
  23. ^ a b Daily Nation website, 30 December 2008: Former police chief Nyaseda dies in hospital
  24. ^ -. "Kimaiyo to be sworn in Monday".
  25. ^ Kimaiyo, David, In the Spirit of Service, Nairobi: Kipchumba Foundation, 2017.
  26. ^ Nguru, Steve. "Structure and Composition - Page 3".
  27. ^ Kenya Police Air Wing-becomes-first-African-customer-to-operate-Eurocopter-s-enhanced-AS350B3e-helicopter_860.html Archived 23 January 2013 at
  28. ^ Fisher Jr, Richard D. "Kenya receives 30 Norinco VN4 armoured vehicles". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 6 March 2016.

External linksEdit