Police have vowed to firmly deal with perpetrators of violence in the run-up, during and after the August 8 General Election.
Inspector-General Joseph Boinnet on Monday said police would have to use “slightly more force than that used by violence perpetrators” if chaos breaks out.
“If violence occurs, then we have to stop it and it means we will use slightly more force than that used by those causing violence," he told a meeting on election preparedness at a Nairobi hotel.
His warning is a stark reminder of the excessive force police employed in response to the 2007-08 post-election violence, leading to extrajudicial killings.
It is estimated that out of the 1,133 killed during the chaos, over 400 were felled by police who used live bullets to stop protesters.
The IG’s warning comes amid the arming of the police service with deadly arsenal such as water cannons, vehicles, tear gas, additional guns and bullets.
Training of a multi-agency security team is also in top gear at the Embakasi military base in Nairobi, with officers being equipped with tactics to break protests and quell civil unrest.
The officers are drawn from Kenya Defence Forces, National Police Service, the National Intelligence Service, Kenya Wildlife Services, Kenya Forestry Services, National Youth Service.
But Mr Boinnet was quick to allay fears of police brutality, saying police officers are being armed to ensure they have the capacity to handle any eventuality.
Police, he said, are not buying equipment specifically to secure the elections or quell violence.
"We are not buying items for riot but also have to prepare for the worst,” he said.
“We don't want a similar situation like 2007 where we were accused of lacking the capacity.”
He said the police service has been preparing for the polls since June last year.
“Our focus is to deliver a safe and secure environment for Kenyans to exercise their democratic right,” Mr Boinnet said.
“We have leant our lessons and are now ready to tackle any riot.”
The Inspector-General's warning came as acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i put on notice politicians inciting and perpetrating violence.
Dr Matiang'i declared war on violence perpetrators and asked police to act firmly, saying "no one is above law".
A similar warning was issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta during the burial of Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery in Kajiado on Saturday.