On Thursday, December 9, social media was awash with a video of fresh General Service Unit (GSU) graduates celebrating the completion of their course in what the National Police Service (NPS) termed as indecent and irresponsible behaviour.
The video elicited mixed reactions from Kenyans online over the type of training the recruits undergo in a camp perceived as one of the most elite and disciplined in the country.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, security expert George Musamali noted that the recruits undergo a 15-month basic training which involves theory and practical basis such as crowd control and police practical theory.
Further, the recruits also take liberal studies, a newly established course aimed at training the officers on how to deal with public in a humane way.
The rigorous training for the GSU recruits involves technical and tactical firearms, impact weapons training as well as combat training; hand-to-hand training without use of firearms.
“In the case of the graduates, they undergo a 15-month basic training, and it incorporates everything. A curriculum known as liberal studies was also established in order to train officers on how to deal with public in a humane way. So it is basic for every recruit to undergo this type of training and once they are deployed, they will get a specialised training at the units where you have been deployed,” he stated.
He noted that those who are deployed to protect the President are divided into two: those who guard the various State Houses and those who offer close protection to the Head of State.
“For instance, there’s a training called Fixed Site Security training. This is a type of training that guards the State House. You will find that the group that was deployed to Karen for Deputy President William Ruto, underwent the training.
“The training is mostly offered to GSU officers that are going to do Presidential guard duties, however, it is different from those who offer close protection such as the Presidential Escort Unit as they are trained to deal with threats while in motion outside the State House (close protection officers training),” he pointed out.
The close protection officers training involves live contact drills whereby the officers engage in different modules such as evasive driving, precision training, quick reversals and forwards while in motion – known as 180 J-Turns.
Further, the officers train on incorporating an L-shaped technique in order to surround the VIP in case of a hasty ambush. In a situation where the VIP is in danger, a vehicle exchange tactic is used whereby the person of interest is quickly picked up by a getaway car while the rest of the detail engage provide cover.
Musamali also intimated that those who guard the State House are only given small elements of close protection officers training but on a need to know basis.
“For instance, if the President is to go on a tour of Kisii County and the officers are informed that he will stay at a certain location, an advance team is sent two weeks prior to go to the specified location, come up with a security plan and collect intel. If the area is too hostile, the event is stopped on security grounds.”
He noted that the advance team incorporates people from National Intelligence Service (NIS), presidential protection unit and, G company.
For those who guard the president closely, the security detail maps out route selection, carries out risk and threat analysis as per the training curriculum.
Recce officers conducting a security drill at JKIA in 2016