Kenya Police Service

The Kenya Police Service (KPS) is headed by a Commissioner of Police who commands a force of more than 35,000 officers. It falls under the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security. There are two branches of the police the national force and the administration police.The KPS core functions include:

  • Maintenance of law and order;
  • Preservation of peace;
  • Protection of life and property;
  • Prevention and detection of crime;
  • Apprehension of offenders;
  • Law enforcement.

Oversight Mechanisms

In terms of internal oversight mechanisms there are complaints procedures set out in Force Standing Orders and a Police Manual. Fellow police officers  receive the complaints and  a special court of inquiry comprised of officers who report to a commissioner can be established.  The conviction of a police officer can result in removal from the force. However  this mechanism has not been very effective given the few convictions that have been recorded. The Commissioner of Police also has the power to conduct investigations into alleged police misconduct.

For external oversight the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) was established through an Act of Parliament to provide for civilian oversight over the work of the police in Kenya. It conducts impartial and independent investigations, inspections, audits and monitors the KPS to prevent impunity and enhance professionalism in the interest of the public. It also considers complaints from the public about police misconduct, or neglect of duty or police practices , policies and procedures.In addition the Kenya Human Rights Commission created by legislation is mandated to receive and consider complaints about the police and has been quite effective in executing its mandate.

  1. Interpol Connecting Police for a Safer World. Country Profile: Kenya. Available at < Accessed on 31 March 2016>.
  2. African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (2008) An Audit of Police Oversight in Africa: Kenya, p 35.
  3. Independent Policing Oversight Authority. Available at <Accessed on 1 April 2016>.
KenyaIPOA The Independent Policing Oversight AuthoritySource
KenyaGeneral2015/2016Amnesty International Country Report for Kenya 2015/2016Source
KenyaNews Story2015Kenya Police Brutality on the Rise Following the Al-shabaab attacksSource
KenyaResearch Publication2013Policing the Periphery; Opportunities and Challenges for Kenya Police ReservesSource (PDF)
KenyaResearch Publication2013Towards Democratic Policing of the 2013 General Elections in KenyaSource