Grumbling over low pay among graduate police officers as well as complaints of unfair promotions has now reached the corridors of justice.
In a suit filed by four police constables, National Police Service Commission (NPSC), Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet and the Attorney-General have been taken to court over the two issues.
Together with activist George Barasa, officers Evans Muthuuri, Ruth Odikara, David Ochom and Linet Njagi claim that they have degree certificates yet their pay is the same as that of non-graduates.
In their case, they claim that while graduate officers move to Job Group J after presenting a degree certificate, they instead earn just as ordinary police constables In Job Group F.
The four are faulting NPSC for refusing to follow this practice and pay them as required as well as promote them to the rank of an inspector.
“NPSC has confirmed that upon submission of respective degree certificates, graduate police constables would be accordingly remunerated in keeping with the January 1, 1969 practice, paying them under Job Group J. Notwithstanding this commitment, our employer continues to ignore, neglect or refuse to pay us and other qualified graduate constables,” they said.
They told the court that on July 26, 1995, the then commissioner of police received approval from the permanent secretary in the Directorate of Personnel Management to consider and remunerate graduate officers in Job Group J.
They also told court that on March 19, NPSC confirmed that graduate police constables were to get special salaries as compared to the others since the provision is well protected under the service’s policy guidelines.
They argued that since 2015, graduate police constables have been upgraded selectively and that a number of them have been retained in Job Group F. They described these actions as deliberate discrimination.
“There is no good reason or explanation as to why police graduate officers in the same rank with the same job description get paid differently and retained in two different job groups,” they said.
Early this year, the commission decided to have the graduate constables’ salaries reviewed to match those of non-graduate officers in the same ranks.
The adjustments stripped them of allowances, leaving most of them to complain of receiving low or no pay at all since they had taken loans to finance their studies.
The commission later on shelved the plan to withdraw the allowances.
But the officers have been demanding that their promotions to the ranks of inspectors be effected.
For instance, officer Muthuuri has a degree in economics and history from Egerton University yet he joined the service as an administrative officer in 2016 after acquiring it.
As for Ms Odikara, she joined the Kenya Police Service in 2013 and later on enrolled for her degree in criminology and security studies at the same university. She graduated in 2017.
Mr Ochom was employed as an administrative police officer in 2016 while still studying at Bugema University for a degree in education and graduated in 2017.
The officers now want it declared that their employer’s actions amounts to infringement of their rights, hence be compelled to pay all graduate constables as per Job Group J from the date of respective graduation or enlistment to the service.
Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Byram Ongaya certified the case as urgent and directed that the matter be heard on March 7, 2019 after the sued parties file their responses.