We are working towards setting a modern call center to handle distress calls, and other emergencies. In the meantime, I want to assure you that all the emergency lines, including 999, work and there are free. I will personally confirm this and will get back to you.
We don’t discriminate, and I can assure you we are committed to providing policing services in all parts of the country. However, the problem is resources, human and non-human. For instance, effective strength to be able to show visible policing in the whole country requires 68,000 personnel to police a population of 34 million, ie the international standard of 1 per 500 people. But we only have an establishment of 43,000. And even then, the force must have the necessary mobility and other equipment, not to mention the infrastructure. Nevertheless, we are making progress towards building the capacity of the Police.
I promise in my next communication to give you comparative figures to show you the progress. In the meantime, as they say in Kiswahili, kupanga ni kuchaguwa. We have concentrated a larger force in the Kampala Metropolitan Policing Area (Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, and parts of Mpigi) because that is where there is the biggest concentration of the population, as well as economic and other activities, consequently, registering the highest incidence (more than half) of the crime, public disorders in the country. And they are followed by the urban centers. But you are right, there are challenges like domestic violence, land related violence and crime in the countryside that need attention.
However, let me also add, that mere visible of police is not enough. It is also the methods of policing. Today, we are embarked on a programme of transforming the Police away from the traditional policing to community policing. Community policing is a crime prevention strategy as different from merely a crime suppression strategy.
One definition of Community Policing: community policing is “a new philosophy of policing based on the concept that police officers and private citizens working together in creative ways can help solve contemporary community problems related to crime, fear of crime, social, and physical disorder, and neighbourhood decay. The philosophy…requires that police departments develop a new relationship with the law – abiding people in the community, allowing them greater voice in settling local priorities, and involving them in efforts to improve the overall quality of life in their neighbourhoods. It shifts focus of police work from handling random calls to solving problems. ( Trojanowicz and Bucqueroux, ‘Community Policing’)
It is preventive through being proactive as opposed to the reactive tendency of traditional policing. Community policing has four elements: transformationing the ideology and organization of the Police to be community oriented; building partnerships with different communities; problem solving: identifying problems that are root causes of crime and violence and together with other stakeholders in the community, find solutions to them.
With this strategy, even with small nos of police in the rural areas, if the Police commanders religiously implemented this strategy, we would be effective. For instance, in some districts, using this strategy, and with LCs and crime preventers (crime stoppers in USA, and the British have similar volunteers) at village level, the policing is effective. In fact, even in urban areas, if this strategy is not employed, the big nos will not be optimally employed to deliver desired results.
The third element is “crime prevention by citizens and police working together”. That is the basis of crime preventers in Uganda, and crime stoppers in the USA, as I noted earlier. We should be able to patrol, and mobilize the community against specific crimes, as well as working together when crime occurs to investigate.
To continue this discourse, i will send you crime reports from 2006 to 2012.
GENERAL KALE KAYIHURA
MEMBER OF UAH AND CURRENT IGP IN UGANDA