Almost 2,000 Kenyan police officers are mentally unfit to do their work, the head of the national police service says.

Inspector-General Hilary Mutyambai on Tuesday told a forum of bishops and senior clergy that they had found the “surprising” number of cases after medically examining all police officers.

Kenya has some 100,000 police officers working under the National Police Service.

The revelation comes amid rising number of depression and suicide within the police force.

Mr Mutyambai said they had started the process of discharging some of the affected police officers from duty, noting the importance of having police who were mentally fit.

“Our tool of work is the gun, and when one bullet is discharged, the implications are serious,” he said.

He however said removing the officers from work was not easy because of the elaborate procedures involved.

There have been growing concerns in recent years over the mental health of police officers and the government has been moving to address the matter.

Mr Mutyambai said the police now had a professional health board that includes counsellors and psychiatrists seconded from the health ministry to offer mental health services.