GSU graduates in viral video finish retraining, sent on leave

A screenshot of the video that went viral.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

Twenty-three General Service Unit (GSU) officers who were caught on camera last year making “irresponsible and reckless remarks” after their graduation have been sent on leave after completing a three-month retraining course at a training camp in Magadi, Kajiado County.

The officers were among 2,502 constables who graduated into GSU officers at the National Police Training College in Embakasi B Campus on December 10.

After they graduated, a video clip surfaced online showing them speaking about how they would deal with criminals, prompting disciplinary action.

“Tunakuja nje…hawa ni wale wazii…squad 26…papapa (We are coming out there…we are the bad ones…Squad 26…then imitates the sound of gunshots),” the junior officers said in the clip.

Their actions raised concerns among Kenyans who have suffered at the hands of brutal police officers, especially in the past two years.

The National Police Service (NPS) condemned the act and accused the officers of making reckless remarks.

“The attention of the NPS is drawn to a video clip circulating on social media depicting newly graduated GSU officers recording themselves as they make some irresponsible and reckless remarks,” NPS said. 

“We wish to clarify and assure the public that the behaviour portrayed in the clip is not acceptable and does not reflect the values of the GSU (and) the Kenya Police Service.”

Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) chairperson Anne Makori also expressed concerns about the officers’ behaviour.

“Ipoa will watch brief on the internal investigations that the NPS has begun. Once completed, the authority will review the resultant file to ensure fair and just attention to the matter,” Mrs Makori said at the time.

As the rest were deployed, the 23 were briefly retained at the training camp to help with investigations into the contents of the viral clip.

Part of the investigations involved establishing their reasons for joining the National Police Service (NPS), the Nation has learnt.

Police spokesperson Bruno Shioso at the time said the investigation would also seek to establish the exact number of officers involved in the production of the clip before disciplinary action would be taken.

“Of course we understand these are young officers who are full of excitement for their first day of service. It was a big day also in terms of the chief guest present but there must be a review of what happened. We can’t make assumptions,” Mr Shioso said.

He added: “We are also seeking to establish their motivation to join the service because they must fit the requirements of a modern-day service.”

The 23 had ignored the counsel of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s to be model officers on and off duty.

The President presided over the graduation parade on December 10 and had told the junior officers to bear in mind that their actions would encourage or dissuade public support for law enforcement.

“Your unit in particular and your reputation for bravery, excellence and unfailing commitment to duty is also unrivalled, which also I believe is a sign of the discipline and excellent training that is at the heart of GSU training,” he said. 

“I call upon you graduates today to ensure that the GSU flame of excellence continues to burn.” 

Some experienced GSU officers who spoke to the Nation said they were shocked to see the clip, describing it as a first by members of their unit.

“Such (actions) are seen in other units but not GSU. What they did was very shameful,” the officer said.

As a trained paramilitary unit of the National Police Service, the unit is one of the most feared and revered units of the NPS. It forms part of the elite teams that include the presidential escort, the Recce squad, riot management and providing security for selected foreign airlines.

“I personally took a while to understand why they had done it. This is our premium and most tactical unit that we rely on because of its discipline,” Mr Shioso said.

“More is expected, especially on the unit’s officers. They should be beyond reproach. We shall not profile them but we shall be observant to avert a repeat of such incidents in future.” 

The officers will be on leave as they await to be deployed.