Why the National Police Service Needs This:
It is already apparent that great change is required in the national police service hence the much touted police reforms. To ensure that the desired change process is effective one needs a proper estimate of the work to be done, which areas, what exactly needs changing and when to do it. A good change plan will could generate the will to change and cause essential buy in from those that will be affected by the desired change within the service and from among other critical stakeholders like the host government ministry, the public and financiers etc. As part of the overall strategic planning for the police service a change management plan is an essential tool in attaining the services vision, mission and goals. Therefore I am setting out here to provide my thoughts on some main aspects for consideration in the police’s design of their reforms project.
Most change management plans have 3 levels:
I. Factoring Change;
Identifying what change in scope, reasons for it, where the organization is, where it desires to be, how ready to change are you? How you will get there, who will be involved, the cost and risks involved.
II. Implementation Planning;
The information collected in level 1 is then used in deciding activities, responsibilities and time frames in the action plan. Communication through the affected unit involving all stakeholders and required audience must be decided. To be safe a resistance to change plan that identifies possible areas of resistance and ways to deal should also be developed. Once this is done comes the actual performance.
III. Project Evaluation;
Reviewing project outcomes, making any required corrective actions and celebrating successes with all involved are all important aspects of this level.
So without much ado let’s embark on level: FACTORING THE CHANGE.
The police service reforms envisions an entire organizational change this was made evident by the peoples aspirations captured in the new constitution which branded the former police force into the now police service. The former was associated with a military like approach to civil policing, it was force abused often by use in enforcing partisan political opinion, a force that led every corruption index announced publically, one that had no or broken equipment whose poorly trained officers were under compensated and lived in over crowed dilapidated staff quarters. Required Reforms must include more than a name change. The scope should cover general themes as follows:
1. A means to reduce/ eliminate corruption within the service;
2. A means to identify and recruit the right people into the service;
3. Improved relevant initial and ongoing training;
4. Development of appropriate guide & standards of policing including professional ethics;
5. A means to monitor quality service delivery system wide;
6. Reduction in crime rates by use of sustainable deliberate strategy and a means to ensure its continued relevance;
7. Improved management systems;
8. Employment of additional manpower to attain the UN standard of 1 officer – 400 people;
9. Police role rationalization to eliminate tasks that can be performed by private bodies;
10. A means for improved elicitation of public partnership in fighting crime;
11. Improved equipping in quantity and requirement;
12. Improved employee compensation and benefits to include, housing, medicare, career progression and retirement benefits;
13. Relevant research and development in policing and crime control;
14. A means to attain and maintain international recognition, “World class” status;
15. Rebranding and better public relations/ communications strategy
16. Developing a means to influence other sectors for increased security e.g. street lighting, anti violent radicalization development focus;
17. MOST IMPORTANTLY, OPERATIONAL THINKING: must change to incorporate new strategies that work better in our current times and circumstances.
This list may not be as comprehensive as desired some points may be merged to create one bigger objective. Whatever works will be good.
WHERE IS THE SERVICE NOW? Another aspect to consider is where the organization is currently. I have chosen to say much in this article nonetheless an honest self appraisal will be required if true change is to be attained. In the public domain issues of police officers involved in murder through excessive use of force or otherwise must be addressed. High corruption, reduction of terrorism and related crimes and work related conditions are all issues among other current challenges that depict the police service in a less than desirable way.
WHERE COULD THEY BE? When concerted effort is placed into the police reforms I see the organization eventually attaining a world class status. This means being comparable to the highly esteemed police organizations on the globe like Scotland Yard or NYPD and others.
v Will have a decent remuneration;
v The best candidates will be recruited openly an fairly;
v There will be chances for career progression free of nepotism or corruption;
v Relevant adequate training will be provided and studies will lead to degrees or professional certification from accredited universities;
v Compensation for work related injuries, medical cover for families, and great retirement benefits;
v Staff housing will be provided or alternate self accommodation arrangements made;
v Will be vied as professionals valued by the public honored in society a job most high potential youth will take as their first choice of career;
v Work will be more fulfilling.
v Safer lives, less likelihood to meet violent circumstances thus better quality of life without fear;
v More time and energy spent in economically gainful activity including a 24hr economy which wasn’t possible before;
v More economic activity will in turn result in added employment opportunities;
v Speedy and proper redress from the security and justice system;
v An assured expectation to receive proper policing service;
v The police will be a source of public pride and a level of more civilized living.
FOR THE SERVICE:
v It means less work related stress and failure to achieve;
v Effective crime reduction making Kenya an attractive destination for business and holiday alike;
v Professional regard/ respect internationally;
v Achieving the Vision, Mission and set goals;
v With time it means easier enforcement as policing systems mature;
v It means continued justification for its existence.
A full description of this level will include what we expect to see officers doing or saying, what roles will be affected and what it will feel like.
THE POLICE SERVICE’S CONCEPT SHIFTS
Change management requires a fresh way of thinking that the police command/ management must adopt in the pursuit of achieving adequate police reforms. That includes:
- Accepting, overseeing, operating and carrying with the highest regard/ value the concept of policing by consent. That is the first and most significant concept shift the service must make. It is the reason why the drafters of Kenyan law probably desired a ‘Service’ in contrast to a ‘Force’. In more highly regarded police departments like in Australia, the UK and Canada, they follow this method of working developed by Sir Robert Peel to define an ethical police service. In that system the police are only allowed to police by fellow citizens, based on their ability to demonstrate integrity and accountability in the exercise of police powers while at the same time affording appropriate openness to enquiry and investigation into issues of public interest. A police historian, Charles Reith writing about the same concept said, it succeeded not from fear but from public co-operation with the police encouraged by officer behavior which results in the approval, respect and affection of the public. In the nine principles handed to new recruits of the Metropolitan Police department in the UK in 1829 the same is well documented. One of the nine principles in particular is worthy of note here; “to recognize always that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behavior and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect”. If the Kenya National Police Service bases its entire existence and operation on this one concept we will be more than half way towards attaining a world class police service status.
- Moving from reactionary policing where resources are deployed to deal with crimes that have already been committed to proactive working, say through improved community policing where officers, the community, government officials and neighborhood coordinators work to identify and evaluate problems that contribute to the likelihood of crime and solve them. In this model of working the SARA system could be used. SARA is an acronym depicting the four main steps of problem solving and decision making police forces use, they are Scanning, Analysis, Response & Assessment.
- Adapt more predicative policing. By compiling crime data on a daily biases and inputting the same into algorithms patterns of crime can be detected these patterns would help the police at ground level better plan their work almost like beating the criminal to the crime scene. Now there is even crime mapping and analysis technology available that will help the police undertake the exercise easily at station level as is the case in NYPD. A test carried out in Santa Cruz in the US showed accuracy of over 40 percent and could be improved with better data collection and analysis available today. A concept that may be somewhat new is Data fusion which is "the exchange of information from different source including police, private sector and other government organs. In the US the concept has given rise to so called fusion centers formed by 2 or more entities to collate, process, analyze and disseminate actionable intelligence so as to inform strategic and tactical management of policing. This entire concept can still be expanded further to incorporate Intelligence Led Policing where intelligence is used to guide operations more. Already the service there exists a criminal intelligence unit which must be aware of recurrent/ professional criminals operating in different ways and areas. Therefore they could increase resources in surveillance and informants around those known crooks so as to determine their preventative actions. The criminal intelligence section may simply need to expand its operation to support daily deployment of resources at each station or may need to expand its working structure to include some more of these ideas. This point is in no way a comprehensive discussion on the subject but the concepts mentioned are critical pointers and more effort, thought and alignment ought to be made in this direction.
- Devolving none core duties to the private sector is one way the police service could think for reducing pressure on its manpower while allowing them to concentrate on those functions that are more integral to themselves. Functions like traffic duties, security even armed for airports the railway and sea ports can be given to Parastatals and County authorities like Kenya Airport Authority who already double in this function and have staff who train in government security training centers already. Similarly most counties already have traffic marshals so why not handover this function to them. Laws can be amended and or the approved bodies could be seconded as police reservists with specified functions. All administrative work in the police service should also be given to civilian staff, why train as a police officer and then work as a clerk? The service must automate what can be automated and leave the rest to civilian workers. A comprehensive analysis of all policing functions is called for to determine smarter less occupying fashion of working to allow concentration on important aspects of their service delivery. Forward looking police departments like the West Midlands or the Surrey Police department in the UK are going as far as privatizing actual criminal investigations even setting up a first private police station run by G4S here we are still debating to legalize armed private guards. Management concepts need to be reviewed quickly to meet our prevailing circumstances adequately and stop living in the past paralyzed by the uncertainty of the future.
- Invest in your Human Resource, it has been said treat your employees the same way you want your clients treated. Sir Richard Branson posted an article on Linkedin the other day, empower your staff so that they can leave any time and treat them in such a way they will not want to leave [hope I got it right]. If the police service wants to attract the best people to its employment they will have to review their thinking on how to treat employees. The brightest strongest fastest are like bread crumbs in a fish pond thing is the police is not the only fish in the pond. KDF is there, Safaricom is there, KQ and Virgin are there, the UN is looking also and many more some of you reading this have probably been picked by those other fish. So who remains for the police? I wouldn’t generalize every officer as second grade but I hope you see my argument, failure before the race even starts. Sometimes employees come into an organization as grabs still in their cocoons as may be the case with some police officer. If the police service can rework the HR function to make it more strategic able to enable, develop and motivate their officers as many multinational corporations do the results are bound to be as impressive as those reflected in growth and profit. In a book, ‘Principles of Management’, by Manson C. Talya B. & Berrin E. I found the following necessary questions that as they say an HR department should answer: [a little paraphrased]
v COMPETENCE: to what extent does our organization have the required knowledge, skills & abilities to implement the strategy?
v CONSEQUENCE: to what extent does our organization have the right measure, rewards & incentives in place to align officer’s efforts with the Service’s strategy?
v GOVERNANCE: to what extent does the police service have the right structures, communication systems and policies to create a high-performing entity?
v LEARNING & LEADERSHIP: to what extent can the police service respond to uncertainty, learn and adapt to change quickly?
The same authors continue to write about human capital [employees, in our case officers] they quote the Society of Human Resource Management’s Research Quarterly, defining an organization’s human capital as follows: “A company’s human capital asset is the collective sum of the attributes, life experience, knowledge, inventiveness, energy and enthusiasm that its people choose to invest in their work.” The National Police Services HR department/ staffing officers or whatever title they go by must take bolder steps towards this way of thinking and managing the greatest asset the service has.
Finally for today I’d like to point out that the service will require undertaking a comprehensive analysis to determine that all elements of change including any training needs, job roles and other requirements have been covered. This way implementation will touch all required areas. Next time we continue to identify proposed route for reforms, obstacles, risks and stakeholders in the change plan….