At least 70,000 policemen have been deployed by the National Police Service to man the streets and ensure the curfew order is obeyed by all citizens.
The officers involve policemen who were on leave but recalled by Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai.
According to police spokesman Charles Owino, those who violate the curfew order risk a jail term of up to three years.
“The Inspector-General last week recalled all police officers who were on leave and with the curfew, we have enough number of police officers who will be moving around the country to ensure that Kenyans remain indoors,” Owino said.
In a circular this week, Inspector General of police warned Officers Commanding Station (OCSs) against arresting petty offenders and congesting the cells.
“It has come to the attention of the inspector general that some officers commanding station (OCS) are arresting petty and traffic offenders and holding them for long hours and in some instances overnight before releasing them on cash bail or police bond. This behavior is against the government directive for the maintenance of minimal contact between individuals and social distancing to mitigate the spread of covid-19 in the criminal justice sector,” the circular read in part.
“You are therefore notified that disciplinary action will be taken against any such OCS and in addition the county police commander in whose jurisdiction such cases occurs will be held personally responsible for abdicating your supervisory duty,” added the circular.
The curfew takes effect today, following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta early this week, to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
“Effective Friday 27th March 2020, a daily curfew from 7pm to 5am, shall be in effect in the territory of the Republic of Kenya, with all movement by persons not authorized to do so or not being medical professionals, health workers, critical and essential services providers, being prohibited between those hours,” he said.
Addressing the nation, the head of state exempted individuals offering critical services including medical professionals.
Others are health workers, National Security, Administration and Coordination officers, Public Health and Sanitization Officers in the County Governments, licensed pharmacies and drug stores, licensed broadcasters and media houses and Kenya Power.
Also exempted from the dusk to dawn curfew are food dealers distributors, wholesalers and transporters of farm produce, licensed supermarkets, mini markets and hyper markets, licensed distributors and retailers of petroleum and oil products and lubricants, licensed telecommunication operators and service providers, licensed banks, financial institutions and payment financial services, fire brigade and other emergency response services and licensed security firms.
Further the president noted that more drastic measures will be taken should the situation warrant.