By George Kithuka
NAIROBI, President Uhuru Kenyatta has commissioned the first batch of armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for Kenya’s National Police Service barely a week after he promised that he would be scaling up the war against terrorism.
Speaking at the headquarters of the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) of the police force here Monday, the President said the government would continue not only to equip the police force but also to ensure the welfare of its members was well catered for.
Uhuru said the government did not take for granted the challenges the police go through in the line of duty and it had plans to improve their terms of service and working conditions.
This first batch of APCs will be deployed to northeastern Kenya and the Lamu area, located some 340 kilometres northeast of Mombasa, which have witnessed numerous attacks by terrorists, mostly Al-Shabaab militants from neighbouring Somalia.
The president said the APCs would help the police in their fight against terrorism and organized crime without depending on the military.
Addressing the Directorate of Criminal Investigation’s training school, where he presided over the closing of a meeting between the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and all regional and county police commanders, the president said there were also plans to provide Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPs) vehicles to the police to improve protection for officers deployed to volatile areas.
The plan to equip the police with such protective vehicles is a first in the history of the country and comes in the wake of an increasing terror threat, where a number of security officers have lost their lives in the past as they tried to prevent or repulse terror attacks.
President Kenyatta said the current enhancement of police capacity to combat crime was the biggest modernisation programme for the police in 20 years.
He assured the security forces that the Government would continue to enhance their capacity to fight all forms of crime in the country.