By George Kithuka/PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta has commissioned the first batch of armored personnel carriers for the National Police Service barely a week after he promised that he would be scaling up the war against terror.
Speaking at the GSU headquarters the President said the government will continue not only to equip the police force but also to ensure their welfare is well catered for.
Uhuru said that the government does not take for granted the challenges police officers go through in the line of duty and as it has plans to improve their terms of service and working condition.
This first batch of the armored personnel carriers will be deployed to North Eastern and Lamu areas regions that have witnessed numerous terror attacks.
The armoured personnel carriers (APCs), according to President Kenyatta, will help the police to fight terrorism and organised crime without depending on the military.
He was speaking at the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI)’s training school, where he presided over the closing of a meeting between the Inspector-General of Police and all regional and county police commanders.
He said there were also plans to provide Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPs) vehicles to the police to improve protection for officers deployed in 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 several security officers have lost their lives in the past as they tried to prevent or repulse terror attacks.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has commissioned the first batch of armored personnel carriers for the national police service barely a week after he promised that he would be scaling up the war against terror.
Speaking at the GSU headquarters the president said the government will continue not only to equip the police force but also to ensure their welfare is well catered for.
He said the government had embarked on a major modernization of the Kenya Police Service to improve efficiency of the force in the fight against crime in the country, especially terrorism.
Speaking after he flagged off the first batch of the armoured personnel carriers(APCs) during the occasion, President Kenyatta said the current enhancement of police capacity to combat crime is the greatest modernisation programme in 20 years.
He said equipment of the police service will enable the force to protect Kenyans and their property from the many security threats facing the country.
The President pointed out that the government has enhanced transport for the Kenya Police Service and provided 2,220 vehicles through lease arrangement thus improving police visibility on the ground.
The President pointed out that a command and control centre has been established and will be commissioned soon.
He assured the security forces that the Government will continue to enhance police capacity to fight all forms of crime in the country.
“The Police last received such equipped in 1995. Those ones will help the police respond quickly and more effectively to the security challenges of the time,” President Kenyatta said.
He cited the security threats in the country as incitement of animosity, cattle rustling, religious extremism, economic saboteurs, theft of public funds, and security personnel using their “uniforms and positions to harass and fleece the same Kenyans they swore to protect”.
President Kenyatta challenged senior police officers and others in positions of authority to deal firmly with the country’s enemies to ensure that peace prevailed.
The President said the few bad elements in the police service who solicit bribes were giving the force. He added that this makes the public have wrong perception of the whole service.
“As my Government works to improve your welfare, I also want your commitment to end real and perceived corrupt practices. The corrupt elements are within all the ranks,” said the President.
President Kenyatta said the corrupt must be removed.
On welfare, President Kenyatta said the government was committed to improving police salaries, allowances and accommodation to enable then serve Kenyans effectively.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said the newly acquired equipment was “a game changer in the fight against crime”.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet thanked the President for his commitment to mordernisation of the police service. He pointed out that the government was not only improving the hardware but also the welfare of the officers.
“As we confront the enemy, we now have protection,” he said.