, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – Police have announced that they have put in place stringent measures that include ground and aerial patrols during the referendum period to ensure maximum security.
Four helicopters were dispatched to the Rift Valley Province on Tuesday afternoon with elite officers from the General Service Unit [GSU] who will coordinate operations with their counterparts on the ground.
“We have enough aircrafts and all the resources and personnel required. We are going to utilise them fully and already dispatched four aircrafts to the ground and more are on standby,” Police Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said.
The aerial patrol team is headed by Kambona Obaba, the deputy commissioner of police in charge of operations at Police headquarters.
Mr Obaba said he had a team of officers on standby at the Wilson airport and at various command centers countrywide who would be available for deployment whenever required.
“Everything is set. We already have teams on the ground patrolling and as you can see this helicopter is leaving for assignment,” Mr Obaba told reporters at the Wilson airport.
Mr Kiraithe told reporters the helicopters would also be available for use by officials of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission [IIEC] to access areas that cannot be accessed by motor vehicles.
“We are working in partnership with them [IIEC]. Besides using our helicopters for security patrols, they will also be used by the IIEC officials,” the Police Spokesman said.
Mr Kiraithe said a central command centre had been established at the Police Headquarters where senior officers would monitor activities countrywide.
The centre will be headed by the Director of Operations Julius Ndegwa who would coordinate activities with all the eight Provincial Commanders and formational chiefs countrywide.
Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has in the meantime urged Kenyans to remain calm and cooperate fully with security forces.
He assured that there was sufficient security countrywide and at the tallying centre of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission [IIEC] located at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.
Mr Iteere made a final inspection of the venue on Tuesday and said he was satisfied with the measures put in place by his officers and the management of the Bomas of Kenya.
He told reporters that he was satisfied with the security arrangements in place and assured that chaotic scenes that occurred at the KICC tallying centre in 2007 would not be repeated.
“We have put in place all the necessary machinery to make sure people coming into [the tallying centre] are properly vetted,” the Commissioner said.
He warned that only accredited persons would be allowed in.
During the 2007 elections, unaccredited individuals made their way into the tallying centre and occasionally interrupted the then ECK chairman Samuel Kivuitu and other commissioners.
“As the Police department, we have put in place all the necessary measures and I am convinced that they are adequate,” said the commissioner.
He said over 63,000 police officers had been deployed across the country for the vote.
“I want to appeal to the winners to be magnanimous in their celebrations and to the losers they should graciously accept the results,” he added.