Suna West lawmaker Peter Masara has called on the Administration and Internal Security Committee to fast-track the processing of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) Amendment Bill, 2023.
The bill seeks to make provisions for promotion of the mental wellness and wellbeing of police officers.
Appearing before the Gabriel Tongoyo-led Committee, the Member put a strong case in favour of his proposed amendment, adding that the police exigently require psychosocial support given the rising cases of suicide and shootings among police officers.
“ Hon. Chair, when I served in this Committee in the last Parliament, I got an opportunity to traverse over three-quarters of police stations in the country. My experience from my interactions with police officers is that there is a missing link in the reforms being undertaken to improve their welfare. This missing link relates to the psychosocial support that these officers are in dire need of,” Masara noted.
According to the lawmaker, the enactment of his proposed Bill requires a budgetary allocation of about Shs900 million phased out in three years to cover for development of support centres, medical equipment and staff deployment.
Making their remarks over the legislative proposal, Members led by Tongoyo observed that though the Bill is of immense importance ,the country may not immediately afford to fund the development of support centres.
They suggested that the Police Service could kickstart the program from already existing infrastructure.
“We are all aware of the current financial situation in the country. It is our opinion that although the Bill proposes the decentralization of the support initiative to the level of sub-county headquarters, that we consider rolling it out first at the County level, where most referral medical facilities are based, then it can be cascaded to the sub-county level, later,” Tongoyo opined.
Asked by Tongoyo why his Bill had considered giving the mandate of rolling out the program to the NPSC and not the National Police Service (NPS) which administers the NPS budget, Masara explained that since the NPSC has been mandated by law to deal with NPS human resource aspects, it was better that the initiative be handled by the Commission.
The Committee Vice Chair sought to know why the proposal does not cover all the disciplined forces who like the Police Service are prone to post-traumatic stress disorders due to their working conditions.
In response, Hon. Masara told the Committee that he had decided to focus on amending the NPSC Act due to his experience informed by interactions with police officers.
Although the Constitution under Article 43 recognises the right to the highest attainable standard of health as one of the economic and social rights, currently there is no Act of Parliament that specifically caters for the mental health of police officers.
The Committee is now set to hold engagements with Kenya Law Review Commission and the Attorney General before subjecting the proposed legislation to Public Participation