In 1963 when Kenya attained independence, livestock stealing had been noted to be a problem in some areas. Some police divisions like Kericho, Nakuru, Eldoret, Laikipia, Kajiado, and Kiambu had therefore established Anti Sock Theft Unit stations which were at Divisional Headquarters to curb this menace.
The Anti-Stock Theft Unit was a unit under Kenya Police Service formed in September 1965. During this period the Unit personnel operated from 5th Kenya Rifle (5KA) Barracks (Slim camp) in Gilgil, which were previously occupied by British Army and were vacant after their departure. The Unit moved to the present location after the purchase of the farm from Mrs. Cart Light in 1970, who was a dairy farmer.
Before the formation of A.S.T.U, Police had animals such as Camels, Horses, Donkeys and Dogs in various parts of the country. The main Mounted Wing of the Police was based at Heillu about three Kilometers from Moyale Police Station by then the Northern Frontier District. Heillu Police Post was the home of Police Horses and Mules.
The animals were by then used for patrols in areas like Sololo, Karandile, Buna, Pamba and Gurar. When it was necessary to form a mounted wing within the unit in 1966, all the horses were transferred to Gilgil under the command of C.I GEDDIES a (European) who was in charge at Heillu.
The movement of the first horses suffered a tragedy when one land rover was destroyed by a mine explosion killing PC/DRV MALAKWEN. This was the first mine tragedy in ASTU history. The Unit acquired more horses from Army Transport Battalion at Nanyuki and some from farmer’s donation.
During the recent reforms in The National Police Service, the then ASTU KPS was merged with APSSPU in June 2019, to ASTU APS where officers from KPS ASTU were transferred to APS while officers from APSSPU were absorbed to the Unit.
At present the Unit has embarked on breeding its own horses for use by the entire Police Service. Anti-stock theft unit is both an operational and investigative unit with its headquarters based in Gilgil within Nakuru county 4 Kms east of Gilgil-Nyahururu main road along Gilgil- Gitare marrum road.
It is a specialized Unit of the Administration Police Service established under Article 243 (2) (b)
To undertake the following functions—
- Anti-stock theft operations;
- Stock-theft investigations;
- Prevention of stock-theft;
- Control by use of horses;
- Breeding of horses;
- Training of horses; and
- Training of horse
In addition to supporting the functions of the National Police Service in accordance with section 27 of the National Police Service Act2011.The penal code cap 63 laws of Kenya sectios278, 289, and 322 empowers the officers in the unit to carry out proper and effective investigation, compilation of stock theft case files and presentation of suspects in court of law
The unit also performs other duties as may be assigned by DISGEN APS, the unit is actively involved in curbing terrorist activities in north eastern region.