Nothing is more embarrassing than being a Kenyan, of a country of peace, and not knowing the composition of the chief peacekeepers, the maintainers of law and order – the Kenya Police – and good job! (To them).

For you, like in primary school, I won’t say to you, “Pull up your socks” and be a good, ‘patriotic’ citizen because, again, there is nothing more confusing than distinguishing police departments in Kenya:

That is because the Kenyan police have different organizational structures, split further into major to minor and still differing Units or Formations for easier administration and enforcement of law and order.

Without even mentioning the hot debate that the two main divisions of the Kenyan police force always cause, that is, the Kenya Police Service and Administration Police, inside them, each also has different directorates with varying roles!

For instance, some tasks of one of the directorates of the Kenya Police Service, the Directorate of Operations, include offering executive foreign VIP protection and coordinating the security of the Head of State and other state visitors. But in the Administration Police, the supposedly same body is called the Directorate Of Security Operations, providing crime and conflict mapping analysis and overseeing all security operations within the country.

So, what is the difference between the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police?

To help everyone distinguish between Kenya Police and Administration Police, it is easier to start at the top because, at the national level, the whole police force is headed by one Inspector General (IG), who the National Police Service Act, 2011, the rules governing the law enforcement officials in Kenya, say is under independent command.

The Inspector General of Police heads the National Police Service (NPS), comprised of the now-in-discussion Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police Service alongside the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Internal Affairs Unit, which receives and investigates misconduct, corruption and other complaints against police officers.

That means the Inspector General is the country’s police chief and has roles spanning policy in the Service.

With the help of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC), the IG advises the Government on policing matters and services and supervises the implementation of policy decisions that ensure a safe and secure working environment for the police to enhance the quality of life of both the law enforcement officers and the citizens.

Focusing on the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police, below the IG, are two Deputy Inspector Generals (DIG) heading each of these divisions since, as stated, the Inspector General is ‘independent.’

So that is similar – the Kenya Police Service and Administration Police are on a Deputy Inspector General’s command – responsible for their day-to-day administration and operations but on the direction of the IG. Then, where is the difference?

Well, Kenya Police and Administration Police differ in formations and functions, aside from the normal maintenance of peace and order, apprehension of offenders, preservation of peace and protection of life and property duties, for which all are responsible.

If you look at the two police departments, first, you will notice that the Administration Police has fewer units than the Kenya Police Service, which has many of them and more specialized ones.

Compare formations in Kenya Police Service and Administration Police;

Is there police recruitment in 2023?

The formations in the Kenya Police Service are the popular traffic police from the Kenya Police Traffic Department, there is the General Service Unit (GSU), Kenya Police College, Presidential Escort Unit (PEU), Kenya Police Dog Unit, Kenya Airports Police Unit, Kenya Railway Police Unit, Kenya Police Airwing, Kenya Tourist Police Unit, Diplomatic Police Unit, Maritime Police Unit and National Disaster Management Unit.

Mainly, these formations are involved in more internal functions as among the roles of the Administration Police is the provision of border patrol and border security through its Border Police Unit with Border Sea Operation Teams and offering specialized stock theft prevention services, fighting cattle rustling and tackling banditry using its Anti Stock Theft Unit.

The Administration Police, popularly APs, is also tasked with protecting government property and vital infrastructural installations using its CIPU Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit.

Its other units are the Rapid Deployment Unit and APS Band, the Administration Police music band which usually entertains Kenyans during national holidays and festivals.

Who is the current head of police in Kenya?

Japhet Koome is currently the Inspector General of Police in Kenya. As the Inspector General (IG), he is the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the National Police Service.

IG Koome’s career with Kenya Police started in 1991 after graduating from the University of Nairobi in 1990, where he was pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.

Assisting him with his duties are two Deputy Inspector Generals: DIG Noor Gabow of the Administration Police Service and DIG Douglas Kanja Kirocho of the Kenya Police Service.

READ: When Is Kenya Police Recruitment 2024?