Security Department

During 1996, the Security Department worked hard to promote a concept of security that relies not only on the work of security officers and park rangers but the contributions of every KWS employee. Effective security is crucial to the pursuit of all KWS goals, but security personnel can not be everywhere and know all things. KWS and the national parks will never be truly secure until all KWS personnel do their jobs honestly and share any knowledge they may have about fraud, corruption, and other security matters with the Security Department.

The restructuring and concomitant culture change have profound security implications. Field activities will continue under the regional system with additional personnel and some headquarters staff re-deployed to the field, where they can be most useful. With regionalization, each Regional Assistant Director will be in a position, for instance, to operate localized ticket inspection units, with a positive impact upon revenue collection.

Harmonization of salaries within an improved remuneration structure should alleviate the temptation to skim a little to make ends meet that poorly paid field personnel may have experienced in the past. Even the change from a hybrid paramilitary-government service type of culture to a unified, meritocratic, customer-driven business culture should have far-reaching effects on attitudes and practices that contribute to enhanced organization-wide security.

Security incidents involving tourists outside the national parks continue to pose an intermittent threat, and potential visitors tend to associate such incidents with KWS. Continued vigilance in the form of intelligence gathering and routine patrols of the parks on foot and in vehicles is necessary to protect both visitors and Kenya’s good name.

Poaching of elephant remained low in 1996 and no rhino poaching was reported. Poaching of other endangered species was rare. Cross-border poaching, however, does affect Kenyan wildlife, particularly elephant populations that migrate seasonally into Tanzania. Following KWS talks with Tanzanian officials, security officers in the two countries have synchronized their operations to address the problem.

Commercial meat poaching in the periurban areas of Nairobi and the coast increased considerably during the year. The proximity of large populations in need of affordable animal protein has prompted highly organized gangs well supplied with vehicles and rifles to enter the trade in giraffe, zebra, kongoni and other meats. Suspects brought to book through the courts system usually receive only light punishment, a facet of the problem that the new wildlife policy and proposed wildlife act will help to address.

Despite initial gains in revenue collection following the introduction of the new ticketing system and Ticket Inspection Unit in 1994, gate fraud remained a major concern. Forged tickets are no longer a problem, but collusion between the gate rangers and tour drivers involving recycled tickets or tourists staying on in parks after paying for only one day increased toward the end of the year. The Security Department is studying the best way of reorganizing the Ticket Inspection Unit to address the problem and has requested additional vehicles to give security officers better mobility when investigating gate fraud.

A member of the department attended meetings in South Africa and Dar es Salaam to discuss regional law enforcement issues stemming from the Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations directed at the illegal trade in wild flora and fauna and assisted in the preparation of a draft operational manual for a task force proposed under the agreement.

In September, 25 marine park rangers, including two women, graduated from a 5-month course at KWSTI in Naivasha. Their studies included marine ecosystems, foreign language, tourist education, marine rescue and other subjects. An additional 31 officers from the Wildlife Protection Unit received local training in investigations and intelligence work under a collaborative agreement with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). Both classes of graduates were deployed to the field in November.

In addition, a training officer and an arms-and-ammunitions specialist attended a four-week course in the United States on the use of night vision equipment in surveillance. Additional junior and senior officers attended a two-week course on training of trainers at KWSTI.

Rehabilitation of Manyani Field Training School began in May 1995. A new dispensary will facilitate proper on-site treatment of injured trainees. An equipment store and shooting range are also under construction, with completion targeted for September 1997.

The Security Department held its first countrywide shooting competition in March at the General Service Unit (GSU) shooting range at Magadi. The competition proved to be an effective means of measuring improvements in officers’ skills, as well as a powerful motivator and moral booster. A regional competition is planned for 1997 under the new KWS structure, with the finals to be held at the new KWS shooting range at Manyani.