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How Kenya GSU crack team is equipped to protect VIPs

Posted In Security - By admin on Sunday, April 14th, 2013 With No Comments »

gsuThe GSU’s elite Recce unit is based in Ruiru and is usually armed with American-made M16 rifles. The photo of the officer was taken at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani where he was part of a team guarding a dozen heads of state and hundreds of dignitaries at the April 9 inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta.gsu

The crucial unit’s main function is to provide support to the over 20 other field companies of the General Service Unit of the Kenya Police. It is usually sent to reinforce other units, and the members of the unit are involved in operations that require the highest level of attention.

Consequently they are trained to the highest standards in some of the world’s most highly regarded military training facilities and are armed with the best equipment. The elite unit is estimated to have up to 500 men.

Members undergo basic training at the Embakasi training school. The best recruits in academic and field performance undergo a further seven-month specialised training that involves VIP protection, handling and detonating explosives, security of vital installations, anti-terrorism, sky marshal (the undercover unit on board commercial flights to counter hijackings) and rescue operations.

They undergo training in Israel and the US and locally at the Ruiru college, Solio Ranch and Magadi Field Training camp.

After the training, the officers are deployed to the three key units, depending on their areas of specialization. The first is the Sky Marshal unit, the undercover counter terrorist unit on board commercial flights to counter aircraft hijackings.

The other unit is the Crisis or response team that is always on stand-by to swing into action when situations threaten to get out of hand. The final team is the Rendition operation, mostly trained in Israel and America.

They were the men tasked with providing security for US Vice President Joe Biden when he visited Kenya in June 2011.

The GSU commandant William Saiya (SDCPII) was trained at the Warminster School of Infantry in Britain, and also in Israel where he trained in paramilitary management. A notable former member of the unit is the late Bishop Alexander Muge who joined the crack unit after winning the “North Eastern Campaign Medal” for bravery as a police constable.

Meanwhile, the 167 GSU officers who were deployed to Nairobi to cover the elections were on Saturday released to report back to their respective units

Magazine pouches

Used for carrying additional magazines and are attached to bulletproof vests. The small pouches are for carrying pistol magazines while the bigger pouches are for the rifle magazines.

M16 rifle

This is a semi-automatic rifle commonly used in modern warfare. It uses 5.56mm calibre ammunition. The M16 has also been widely adopted by other militaries around the world. Total worldwide production of M16s is approximately 8 million.

Thigh pistol holster

Used to carry an additional pistol. Since whenever an officer is wearing a bulletproof vest, it is impossible to employ hip holsters, the holster is usually tied on the thigh for easy accessibility.

Bayonet

This is a knife, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle. In cases where the officer does not have to shoot, the bayonet effectively turns the gun into a spear that is commonly used in close-quarter combat or as a last-resort weapon.

Sunglasses and portable police radios

Sunglasses are usually worn in crowd situations to prevent the public from easily telling where the officer is looking. The officer may have his head pointed straight but shift his gaze to the left or right without being noticed.

Experts say that by covering the eyes officers maintain the tactical advantage of hiding their feelings and not letting the public know where their attention is directed.

Portable police radios are used for communication between the control room or senior officers and their juniors. It is usually not encrypted and eavesdroppers may listen in, however in Kenya, police do not allow unauthorized persons to listen to the radio.

In Norway, it is legal for private citizens to listen to the police radio, and there are even streams available online. To avoid distraction the radios are normally fixed on the shoulder or chest, and the officers have earphone attached to the gadgets that can enable them communicate without necessarily holding them on their hands.

Sunglasses put the officer in a position of power over those who don’t have them. The officers are thus able to look into someone’s eyes to get a lot of insight into what they are feeling and thinking. If the officer is nervous or accidentally displays fear, the public may not be in a position to detect.

If members of the public cannot see the officer’s eyes, they may not be in a position to read what he is thinking, only imagine what he is capable of.  Not being able to read him creates uncertainty, which means he has the advantage.

Portable police radios are used for communication between the control room or senior officers and their juniors. It is usually not encrypted and eavesdroppers may listen in, however in Kenya, police do not allow unauthorized persons to listen to the radio.

In Norway, it is legal for private citizens to listen to the police radio, and there are even streams available online. To avoid distraction the radios are normally fixed on the shoulder or chest, and the officers have earphone attached to the gadgets that can enable them communicate without necessarily holding them on their hands.

BulletProof vest

A bullet-resistant vest helps in absorbing the impact from firearm-fired projectiles and shrapnel from explosions. It is usually worn on the torso.

There are several types of vests designed to protect the wearer from small-calibre gun projectiles and small fragments from explosives like hand grenades are usually made of many layers of woven or laminated. The jacket also has pockets used to store items like water and extra magazines for the rifle.

Hard-plate reinforced vests –with metal or ceramic plates used with a soft vest – provide additional protection from rifle rounds. They are mainly worn by combat soldiers and police tactical units.

Knee pads

These and elbow pads are designed to offer protection and comfort to the knee and elbow respectively. In case of any confrontation, the officer may even roll on the ground without injuring his knees or elbows. They are usually made with foam and nylon shell with rubber anti-slip cap.

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