The police department is being equipped to improve efficiency in addressing the current security challenges.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday said the police force will be provided with modern equipment to respond quickly and more effectively.
The National Police Service will for the first time acquire Armoured Personnel Carriers that will be used, especially by officers working in terror prone areas, and also to secure frontier areas of the country.
The government has also purchased a new helicopter and two other MI-17 helicopters are being refurbished to improve police ability to quickly move troops to any trouble spot and generally improve their mobility.
The police airwing has for years been ill-equipped and has not been effectively providing air support to ground forces including tactical reconnaissance, night reconnaissance, air observation, and casualty evacuation, especially in remote areas.
Currently, the Airwing has 14 aircraft, six fixed wing and eight helicopters.
AGUSTAWESTLAND AW139 HELICOPTER
Police will have a more efficient AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter. Agusta Westlands, an Italian company, was paid Sh683 million in the 2014/2015 financial year for the helicopter.
It has a capacity of 15 passengers and can take off and land on autopilot so long as the right information is given.
It is a twin-engine helicopter that has an endurance of six hours implying that it can remain airborne for at least six hours without refuelling, and is capable of a vertical take off with just one engine with a full load at high altitudes.
It also has hi-tech surveillance for both day and night operations.
Ten pilots and six engineers were trained in at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Italy for three months and have already reported back to the unit.
Currently, four other officers are also undergoing training there.
The helicopter is equipped with a high definition forward-looking infrared (FLIR), self-protection system, heavy-duty landing gear, and has low thermal and acoustic signatures.
It can cruise up to 309kph
The large luggage compartment is accessible from both the cabin and outside.
It is capable of withstanding high cruising speeds in harsh conditions under maximum load, over rough terrain or deserts and high mountainous regions.
Maximum take-off:......................6,400 kg
Length (rotors turning):................16.65 m
Overall height:...............................4.95 m
Main rotor diameter:.....................13.80 m
THE COMMAND, CONTROL AND COMMUNICATIONS CENTRE
The Command, Control and Communication (IC3) Centre at Jogoo House will have at least 1,800 surveillance cameras installed in strategic places in Nairobi and Mombasa as the police step up the war against crime in the towns.
At least 300 officers have been trained on how to manage the control centre. The IC3 is linked to radios which are operated by officers stationed at various places within the county to urgently respond to any emergency as soon as it is detected.
Consequently, officers would not be sent blindly to scenes of incidents as specific locations will be identified using the GPS. Also, the call numbers 999, 112 and 911 at the centre operate 24 hours alongside the surveillance cameras.
The government has also acquired additional 2,220 assorted vehicles through a lease arrangement which has more than doubled police visibility on the ground. Police now have double cabin Ford Rangers, Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, and Toyota Land Cruisers among others.
THE MI-17 HELICOPTERS
Two of the four MI-17 helicopters owned by the airwing, 5Y-STA and 5Y-SFA, were dismantled and taken to the Czech Republic to be refurbished.
The helicopter can carry between 20 and 30 fully armed troops and can operate well over long distances, by remaining airborne for six hours.
Being a helicopter, it can land anywhere making it effective in transporting troops to the front lines, re-supply them, and evacuate the wounded when required. It can carry heavy loads at high altitudes in extreme weather.
The contracts relating to the overhaul of helicopters and the purchase of new ones were among the issues discussed by top Interior ministry officers at a meeting with the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly.
A Czech company, Lom Praha Trade, was in the 2014/2015 financial year paid Sh370.4 million for the overhaul of two MI-17 helicopters operated by the Police Airwing.
Although a supposed whistle-blower had told PAC that the company did not have certification to do the job- MI-17 are made in Ukraine- Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery told the MPs that it had the right papers.
The matter became public after the Auditor-General faced obstacles in the process of auditing the ministry’s financial statements for the 2014/2015 financial year and sought the intervention of the Principal Secretary to get some documents.
ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIERS
The National Police Service will for the first time acquire Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) that will be used especially by officers working in terror-prone areas.
Part of the Sh3.8 billion was to purchase Armoured Personnel Carriers for the police.
Though they are not intended to take part in direct-fire battle, they are however armed for self-defence and armoured to provide protection from shrapnel and small arms fire.
The APC is aimed at protecting the crew from mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other ballistic threats.
They can also withstand few kilograms of explosive mines. I
t has a built-in central tyre inflation system that permits automated inflation and deflation of tyres for different terrains during movement.
The goggles are effective in operations and search and rescue missions at night. The devices aid the eyesight in low lighting by amplifying the surrounding light.
They can also magnify objects so they will appear closer or detect body heat through infrared light.
With the night-vision goggles, police officers can effectively perform night operations.
During the Westgate Mall attack, the operations had to be stopped at night, giving militants time to re-group and possibly kill more people trapped inside.
The devices can be used by police pilots and even by officers on foot or mobile patrols.