The first phase of Safaricom’s national surveillance system has gone live, making it easier for the police to pick out suspected criminals in Nairobi and Mombasa streets.
The Sh14.9 billion National Surveillance, Communication and Control System links all security agencies, making it easy to share information and direct operations.
The project involved connecting 195 police stations in Nairobi and Mombasa to high-speed (4G) Internet to ease communication.
Nairobi and Mombasa have been the hardest hit by terrorism.
Garissa also experienced the brutality of terrorists in April when terrorists shot dead 147 students and security officers, and injured scores more in a constituent college of Moi University
Safaricom on Saturday briefed President Uhuru Kenyatta and top military and security bosses on the status of the project and demonstrated how it works.
Upon completion, the system will be operated by the national police service under the expertise of a core team comprising senior officers from the National Police Service and communications experts.
Under the deal signed with the government, Safaricom committed to undertake the full cost of delivering the Sh14.9 billion project (exclusive of taxes) to the government. Beginning November 2016, the government is expected to start paying for the system by instalments.
Safaricom has installed tamper-proof, high definition and ultra-high definition CCTV cameras across Mombasa and Nairobi that will be connected to a national command and control room.
The system will have analytical capabilities allowing for facial and movement recognition from the CCTV footage that will be relayed to the command and control centre in real time.
Additionally, police will be equipped with walkie-talkies with cameras to take pictures at crime scenes for assessment and evidence. The pictures can be sent in real time to the command and control centre.
The walkie-talkies will also have tracking capabilities to improve disaster response. This will make it easy to locate police officers closest to a crime scene for faster response.
The system will enable security personnel to monitor areas under surveillance, detect any security incident, help direct police response and monitor the flow of people and traffic especially in town centres.
The system also has a command and control redundancy centre also capable of coordinating emergency response.
The tender for the system was the subject of controversy for years, with Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE locking horns in a court fight over the project until the government awarded it to Safaricom.