History of The Kenya Police


Reproduced below is Sir Richard Catling’s foreword to W R Foran’s 
                                          “The Kenya Police 1887 – 1960”

You will see that Sir Richard expressed the hope that further volumes would be added to the Force’s history. As far as I know this has not happened. Is it too late?

R Williamson 



FOREWORD by the Commissioner of Police R. C. CATLING, C.M.G., O.B.E

This is an appropriate time to produce the first volume of the history of the Kenya Police. For one reason, because there are still officers available, either serving or retired, who have been able to look back over the years-even to the very early days-and so provide Major Foran with a good deal of material. For another, because 1960 is a year of change and constitutional advance in Africa which, although unlikely to affect the organization and functions of the Kenya Police. will undoubtedly bring with it changes in the composition of the Force, not the least of which will be the gradual replacement of expatriate officers in the senior ranks by local men. To that extent therefore the character of the Police, constant for so many years, will undergo change. And it is right that it should be so.

The author takes his story up to the official end of the Emergency. Yet police responsibilities have not decreased with the successful conclusion of the war against militant Mau Mau; they have changed in character and in some respects have increased in complexity. They call for the intelligent employment of manpower and mechan­ical aids to policing and above all for courage and impartiality, quick and logical thinking and a clear understanding of their role by all ranks.

To glance backwards in time for a moment there is no doubt that the Police have grown in stature; good has come out of evil to the extent that the Force, although severely strained by the Mau Mau rebeIlion, came out of the Emergency with improved living and working conditions, equipment and, not least, benefited by an in­jection of new blood in the form of the transfer to it of officers from other forces with new ideas and concepts. Since 1954 emphasis has been on training and consolidation, on producing policemen of quality with pride in themselves and their Service and with an im­proved knowledge of their profession and purpose. To look forward at what is ahead of us I see no reason for this emphasis to be changed. There is no doubt that the progressive introduction of local men into the higher ranks will present difficulties. We are unlikely to have all the time we would like in which to do it; our facilities for training and for giving practical experience to those considered to be in the field for advancement to greater responsibility may not be as ideal as we would wish; we may make some mistakes in our efforts to select the right men for advancement. Yet if we are as determined as we must be in tackling this task the change should be effected without much loss of efficiency or morale.

I have referred to this book as the first volume of Kenya's police history because I am hopeful that at appropriate times in the future further volumes will be added. For despite political changes the Kenya Police will remain and continue to develop. In the time that it has been my honour and privilege to serve with the Force I have been impressed, not only by its resilience, ingenuity and high purpose, but also by the increasing awareness of all ranks of their true status in society. It is important for police and population alike that there is clear recognition of the fact that policemen are the public's own servants, as well as officers of the law, employed by the public to do certain work for them and to relieve them of the duties which by common law belong to every citizen. It is equally important that the policeman should enjoy a status which will command the respect of the population. It is my hope and belief that in the years which lie ahead this status will be accepted and understood more clearly and definitely, to the mutual advantage of both parties.
December, 1960