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Inside the Presidential Escort Unit: Members and How It Works

On Thursday, August 26, 2021, the country was treated to a rather dramatic scenario after the government withdrew the elite police unit assigned to Deputy President William Ruto and replaced it with the Administration Police.

But who exactly is entitled to what amount and level of protection? And who can provide such protection? 

In the year 2011, one year after the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the National Police Service Act, 2011 came into force.

Section 24 of the Act established the Presidential Escort Unit (PEU), a division of the Kenya Police, whose mandate is clearly outlined.PEU’s primary responsibility is to provide protection to the Presidency.

According to the Act, those entitled to this protection are the President, the first families, retired Presidents, Deputy President, visiting Heads of State and Governments, and any other VIP as directed from time-to-time by the Inspector General of Police.

The Presidential Escort Unit is primarily a composition of what is known as the Joint Operational Command (JOC). 

JOC brings together all agents and stakeholders tasked with the responsibility of providing security to the Presidency.

Its officers are drawn from the elite Recce Company and the General Service Unit (GSU). The officers are highly trained and received personalised intense paramilitary training and later deployed to the GSU Guard ‘G’ Company.

PEU has 200 officers attached to the President and another 45 attached to the Deputy President, in the current Kenyan scenario.

Owing to the President and his deputy’s security requirements, the PEU consists of highly trained and equipped firearm handlers, defensive drivers, riders, snipers, combat leads, explosives experts and intelligence officers.

When the Head of State or his deputy are on transit, the presidential motorcade is always characterised by a wide fleet of high end vehicles that create a wedge formation to shield the VIP. However, the formation changes from time-to-time.

The riders, who are always leading the motorcade, are highly trained in war and combat. The riders, apart from clearing traffic for visiting presidents, also offer protection. They also dictate how fast or slow the motorcade moves.

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Constitution of Kenya Kenya Police Presidential Escort Unit

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