“To provide quality police service to meet the expectation of our customers; by upholding the rule of law and creating and maintaining strong community partnerships for a conducive social, economic and political development of Kenya.”
The police service mission Statement is clear about the business strategy. It says what they do or intend to do, that is providing quality service to customers. It mentions how, by upholding rule of law and developing partnerships with the community, why? In order to facilitate a conducive environment in for the country’s development. But what really does this all mean on the shop floor level?
- Quality service requires a measurement of the value of the service that has to be met consistently so as to be said to be providing quality output. The value being measured on the other hand is largely determined for us by the mission statement, which declares the police are focused on meeting the expectation of their customers. Therefore every officer must work to achieve this. In drilling deeper we must ask who are the police’s customers? We could break down different segments of Kenyan society but without time or patience to do so let’s say these will include all Kenyan citizens who through the constitution and the various laws have contracted the police service to protect them from all crimes being committed within the country another category of people who expect the same protection will include all visitors to the country either staying or even just passing through. Of course this should be broken down by each department and unit within the service so that they are clear who specifically within this broad definition of customers they actually serve. It is apparent that the Anti Stock Theft Unit [ASTU] will have cattle herders as primary customers and what it takes to stop rustlers as their primary quality delivery. On the other hand Airport Police Unit [KAPU] has security at the airport as their primary concern and passengers, staff and aviation operations as their customers. Further still at the airport smaller detachments within KAPU will have different primary roles others will be responsible for cargo areas other for passenger terminals yet others in specialized areas like the anti narcotics team or the explosives ordinance disposal personnel or the K9 unit. This breaking down of function should be carried out to the single officer point so that each individual officer is clear in his/ her mind what exactly is expected of them in the delivery of the promise/ mission. These could be set out detailing the individual’s specific task and the proposed measurement of its achievement. For example in the case of an officer in-charge of investigations the SPECIFIED TASK: Ensure close cooperation with internal and external stakeholders in conducting investigations. The MEASUREMENT for this may say something like: undertake case/ incident review meetings with three internal and five external customers quarterly. All the tasks given that officer will have to be agreed between him/ herself and their commanding officer so that the doer has ownership and the supervisor ensures alignment of his team with the unit/ organization’s mission. This way that officer is clear on what they have to do in order to deliver their part in quality service to the customer.
- According to the mission in order to meet the customers’ expectation each task must do 1 of 2 things, uphold the rule of law or establish strong community relationship. In upholding law the broad understanding must include preventative measures against the likelihood of all crimes including terrorism and economic crimes like corruption among others. There must also be quick [timely] and effective counter measures in the event of a breech in law so as to stop its escalation and minimize negative impact to customers. Finally there must be a process of inquiry into cases that provides constant assurance for redress to victims. For example with the recent dissatisfaction in prosecution of terrorism cases the police service’s prosecution office should by now have discussed with stakeholders like the judiciary, investigators in the Anti Terrorist Police Unit [ATPU] and General Service Unit [GSU] among others on how best to secure effective prosecution of suspects. Issues of acceptable evidence including from intelligence sources could be agreed upon with the judiciary to ensure when perpetrators are brought no loopholes for their quick release are given. Finally, finally a world class police service will be open to authorized research on means of improving their law keeping; they will measure review and improve performance in every type of breech of law to ensure they are meeting their promise to uphold the rule of law.
- The second thing each task within the national police service must focus on is establishing strong community relations. Many considerations need be made to do so; most will come from other disciplines like culture change management, image and public relations, personal communications and also customer services among others. Another critical area will be in the instilling of professional ethics with a follow through measure to ensure observance of the same. Finally the service will have to pair all this to a focus on individual officer abstinence from corruption which itself will sour any relations. Officers must be seen to be responsive and concerned for their customers many times police work calls for officers to go the extra mile and or put their lives on the line for fellow citizens. Issues that are close to the hearts and minds like rape cases, child molestation and fair and decent treatment of persons in custody must be given prominence in handling. I imagine each police station could have a public relations officer not just appointed but professionally qualified to handle this line of work. That officer should be the go between the service and the local community, based on availability and suitability the relations officer could also be a civilian and not necessarily a trained police officer. Regular forums to meet discuss and solidify relations should be required at each unit level. A world class service should be doing local police baraza’s, team building and other social interaction forums, it must reach out to all stakeholders and have tasks for officers on the beat to visit a number of homesteads or business premises interact with people found there and file a report at the end of each duty time so that with time relationships are established and tracked. Finally secure unintimidating channels for public feedback and reporting must be provided. The information from them must be taken up and addressed in a timely fashion and where possible an official response given to the person reporting so that they know his/ her effort is not in vain.
Just some thoughts on how we could get this boat on the high seas without actually sinking! Next we consider a Change Management Plan for the national police service