Security stakeholders in Elgeyo Marakwet have called for the expansion of the Tambach Prison which is the only such facility in the county, to cater for the needs of the county residents.
The taskforce on the improvement of conditions for the police and the prisons service was told that the prison in Tambach cannot accommodate capital and female offenders forcing such people to be transferred all the way to Eldoret.
The prison commandant Benjamin Chirchir said with a constraint in budgetary allocation it becomes quite a challenge for the department to ferry the offenders from Eldoret to Iten law courts where their cases are handled.
He told the taskforce under commissioner John ole Moyaki which was sitting at the Iten Medical Training College that the prison requires expansion saying it sits on a three acre plot which is not enough to enable it undertake its mandate of rehabilitating offenders through vocational training.
The taskforce also heard that only about 20 out of the 253 officers working at the facility were housed within, with the rest being forced to rent accommodation outside the facility thereby risking their lives and also making it difficult to assemble the officers in case of an emergency.
The prisons head also proposed that the department should be giving first priority to their officers who have upgraded their skills whenever they have promotional positions.
The county police commander (CPC) Francis Nguli called for an increase of stipends given to police reservists from Sh 5,000 to Sh15,000 and which should be given monthly as opposed to being given bimonthly to motivate them.
He also called for the establishment of a camp where the NPRs are housed saying it will be easier for access whenever they are needed adding that they should be issued with at least two vehicles to enhance patrol in their areas of operation. The CPC called for the establishment of a psychosocial support and counseling centre in each county to cater for the members of the various forces’ mental wellness saying they were losing many officers through suicides, killings and substance abuse.
Nguli added that officers who are about to retire should be allowed to work in counties of their choice to allow a smooth exit from the service in addition to ensuring that the pension process is simplified so that they are paid their dues on time.
General duty officers said they wanted to revert to their old uniform saying the current blue uniform had different shades and is of low quality.
They called for better remuneration in terms of salaries and allowances saying they should not be paid like the mainstream civil service as their duties are different.
They also appealed to the government to consider hiring a relative to replace an officer who dies in the line of duty so that the family is not left suffering after their breadwinner dies.
By Alice Wanjiru