Kenya Coast Guard set for bigger role
The National Taskforce on Police and Prisons Reforms has recommended that the Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) be given the legal mandate to safeguard and oversee all water bodies within Kenya’s borders.
Chief Justice emeritus David Maraga-led task force wants the recently created Border and Sea Operations Team (BORSOBTS) that operates under the Administration Police Service (APS) placed under KCGS to avoid overlap of roles.
The task force proposes that all other government agencies created to undertake roles related to protection of marine and other water bodies within Kenyan borders be placed under KCGS.
The unit created in 2018 and headed by commandant Abdullahi Adan, an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, has been charged with the responsibility of policing Kenya’s territorial waters, which is the same role undertaken by KCGS.
The team has modern patrol speedboats and other equipment, and a full-fledged squad.
“In these circumstances, the Taskforce recommends that the IG and the Director-General, KCGS, develop structures and procedures for engagement between KCGS and the Border and Sea Operations Team to guide multi-agency approach in the policing of Kenya’s territorial waters under the KCGS,” the report says.
The recommendation comes months after KCGS took over the operations and mandate of the Marine Police Unit.
“The complexity of policing in territorial waters requires a multi-agency approach and coordination, which has been achieved through KCGS. Accordingly, the Taskforce notes that the Marine Police Unit and KCGS cannot co-exist,” it observes.
At the same time, the team wants the Internal Affairs Unit made autonomous with a director recruited competitively and a clear mandate to strictly deal with police disciplinary offences and enforcement of professional standards.
This would leave the enforcement of criminal matters related to police to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
The team also wants the National Police Service Air Wing which was in 2019 transferred to the National Air Support Department headed by a Kenya Defence Forces officer, returned to the police.