Junior police officers in Kenya are protesting against what they describe as a meagre pay rise, raising concerns about security during the referendum on the proposed new constitution on 4 August.

The disgruntled officers have been going slow since 7 July, when internal security minister George Saitoti announced salary increases for all members of the police force to be introduced over three years with immediate effect. Under the new pay structure in the first year police constables will see their monthly wage rise from Ksh11,000 to Ksh14,000 plus a Ksh7,000 allowance, with subsequent increases over the following two years. However they say this is not enough and have been jamming the police radio system and failing to provide situational reports to senior officers as a result.

Local news sources say senior officers have been trying to talk to their junior colleagues to persuade them to accept the changes, but at the time of writing it was not clear if an agreement had been reached.

Under the new pay structure more senior police officers will earn between Ksh26,000 and Ksh64,000 depending on rank and experience. The wage increases bring to a close months of negotiations between the police force and the government.

Over 52,000 officers from the regular police force administration police force, prisons department, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Youth Service and Kenya Forest Service are expected to provide law enforcement at polling stations during the referendum.

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