SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES DURING THE OFFICIAL COMMISSIONING OF 500 LEASED MOTOR VEHICLES FOR THE NATIONAL POLICE SERVICE AT UHURU PARK GROUNDS, NAIROBI ON 16TH JANUARY, 2017

On January 16, 2017 In Statements and Speeches

Ladies and Gentlemen,    am happy to be here today to officiate yet another important occasion on the delivery of 500 motor vehicles that have been acquired under Phase III of the National Police Service Motor Vehicles Leasing Programme The delivery of these vehicles marks a big milestone in my Administration’s quest to improve the mobility of our Police by providing vehicles and other modes of transport.   Enhanced mobility has gone a long way in enabling our Police to provide security, which, no doubt, is an imperative for sustainable socio-economic development. When my Administration came into office four years ago, our country was facing serious security challenges emanating from terrorism and other forms of organized crimewhich required innovative ways to tackle. One of the glaring gaps was the lack of means of transport that hampered the   effectiveness of the Police.  In 2013, the National Police Service had in its strength a paltry 3,155 vehicles nationwide, most of which were in disrepair.   This sorry state of affairs meant that our Police officers could not effectively execute their mandate of keeping this country safe and secure. To deal with this problem, we adopted the National Police Vehicle Leasing Programme and acquired under the 1st Phase, 1,200 vehicles. We received an additional 1,000 vehicles under the 2nd Phase.  Today, we have received another 500 vehicles, which brings the total number of leased vehicles to 2,720. Ladies and Gentlemen, The total number of vehicles of different types in use by the police will now stand at 5,875.  Whereas I appreciate that this is not yet enough, significantly improved mobility today means that our officers across the country are able to respond faster to distress calls.  The result is that the public feels safer because of the enhanced police presence in every corner of our country. To better fight all forms of organized crime, including terrorism, my Administration has also procured 30 Armoured Personnel Carriers, which has improved police capability and response We have also procured 25 Mine Resistant Armoured Personnel Carriers that will be deployed in the Coast and North Eastern Regions.  We are making these investments in a deliberate move to fulfill the promise by my Administration to deliver a secure and tranquil environment that will give Kenyans confidence to go about their business without fear of their security. Additionally, we now also have 3 serviceable helicopters, and will build the fleet to seven by July 2017, up from only one working helicopter and 2 fixed wing planes in 2013. In terms of human capital, we now have 98,732 officers in our ranks compared to 78,885 in 2013, an increase of more than 25 per cent. This reflects a- personnel- to civilian population ratio of 1:390 compared to the recommended UN ratio of 1:450.   Indeed, we are not far from that optimal benchmark and we are committed to achieving it. Ladies and Gentlemen, Now, let me demonstrate how these investments have impacted on the lives of ordinary Kenyans.  First, we have made progress in counter-terrorism arising from enhanced capacity, as well as better coordination and closer multi-agency cooperation.    In 2016, we had 16 incidents reported in which 16 people lost their lives and 8 were injured.  This compares with 66 incidents in 2015, when 202 people were killed and 120 injured.   The year 2015 was particularly darkened by the Garissa University attack.  In 2014 we had 45 incidents reported in which 70 people were killed and 78 injured. Second, the number of crimes reported has gone up, reflecting overall more arrests made by the increased presence of officers. More crimes related to dangerous drugs and illicit brews were targeted.  Overall, in 2013, 71,832 cases were reported; 69,372 in 2014; 72,490 in 2015; and 76,986 in 2016. Police reported a sharp decline in robberies and motor vehicle thefts.  In 2016, 2,667 cases of robbery were reported compared to 3,551 in 2013.   Meanwhile, 1,355 cases of motor vehicle theft were reported in 2016 in contrast to 1,631 cases in 2013.  This can be attributed to more officers on the beat and faster response to crime scenes owing to improved transport. Third, security has significantly improved in Nairobi.  Robberies fell from 436 reported in 2014 to 295 in 2016; motor vehicle thefts fell from 340 to 195; offences targeting individuals, such as muggings fell from 1,360 reported in 2014 to 992 in 2016. The success in Nairobi clearly shows that my Administration's investment in CCTV cameras, improved street lighting, and better forensics, is bearing dividends. Ladies and Gentlemen, My Government is not just improving the transportation and staffing aspects in the overall working environment of the National Police Service alone. Other areas are also being addressed. The Police housing programme is underway and the first phase which comprises of 1,500 units in Nairobi as well as other parts of the country, are being constructed.  Out of this figure, 200 units have been completed and are now occupied In due course, the construction of the second phase comprising 4,800 units will begin.  This is in line with our commitment to resolve the police housing challenge. I wish to reiterate that the tooling gaps in the police are huge and historical, but we are working to bridge this gap.  Today, Police Officers have a Comprehensive Medical Insurance Cover which came into effect last year, to add onto the Group Life Insurance Cover, which they have had for the last three years.   This is in my Administration’s conviction of the unique circumstances under which police work. In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now entering the electioneering period, an often challenging period particularly for the police.  I ask you and all other agencies concerned to deal firmly with incitement by all Kenyans, irrespective of their political affiliation. Elections come and go, so it is our duty -- all of us -- to ensure that our country remains united, peaceful and secure before, during and after elections.  I urge politicians of all shades to conduct their campaigns peacefully to confirm our maturity as a democracy. With these remarksit is now my pleasure to commission these 500 assorted vehicles so that they can be deployed to serve the country.   Thank you and God Bless you.

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