By Richard Musaazi
Last month during the launch of community policing, Gen Kale Kayihura said everyone should be involved in fighting crime because it is a social problem.
He emphasized that if there is peace in the country, investors will come and create jobs for youths who would otherwise engage in illegal activities.
Yes, I agree with the IGP that Crime and public order issues are community related problems that cannot be addressed by a single agency, but how effective, and professional is the police force in the law enforcement process?
From April 2012 to November 2013, about 30 police officers were prosecuted in courts of law over allegations of professional misconduct, causing financial loss to the government, failure to investigate cases, absence from duty, conspiring with criminals to commit offenses, disobedience, unlawful arrests and manhandling members of the public! Of these 16 were either convicted or acquitted, while the rest were still being handled by the standby disciplinary court, at the Police headquarters in Kampala.
The 2012 Uganda Human Rights Commission report showed a decline in cases of human rights violations in Uganda, but the Uganda Police Force had the majority of cases of human rights violations reported against it. These and other security and professional concerns in the police warrant questioning.
The soaring crime and insecurity concerns among which killing of police officers- is a clear manifestation of the police’s failure to detect the ever changing crime environment! Yes! – And this does not only threaten security itself, but also the economic muscle of this land. The changing crime environment is presenting new challenges and will require a new approach. We need a force fit for the 21st Century in Uganda by creating an Effective Crime Agency within the police that will crack down serious organized crime and protect children.
Research has shown that police’s inner strength is the public; the means of enhancing the role of the public are (partly) in the hands of the police service, through the way they deal with people on an everyday basis.
Policing approach that emphasizes fairness and positive interaction is likely to be effective in reducing crime by maintaining and increasing trust and legitimacy.
If you treat people fairly and with respect, they are more likely to cooperate with you, follow your instructions, and have respect for the law. Police legitimacy, in form of shared values triggering social responsibility, is the mechanism through which procedural justice works. Fair and respectful treatment in one area of policing may have a knock-on effect elsewhere. Some members of the public’s perceptions of police fairness have been relatively stable, although there is a significant increase in mistrust.
I believe with full certainty that the next few years will be extremely challenging for the police – if they choose to ignore the fact that motivation of people to become more cooperative and responsible voluntarily, potentially offers a cost-effective way of preventing and reducing crime.
We also need to reform the Judicial System – to create a more efficient and effective law enforcement system, which delivers justice for victims and helps police meet their overriding objective – to cut crime. Across the Judicial System (police, courts, and Ministry of Justice) there should be a shared aim to reduce crime, reduce re-offending, punish offenders, protect the public, improve public confidence and ensure that the system is fair and just. With my great admiration for the police, magistrates, lawyers, judges and court staff and prison officers I am of the view that, improvements must be made, in the public interest.
Richard Musaazi a British and Ugandan Citizen, Crime Fighter and a qualified private investigator based in UK. E-mail; firstname.lastname@example.org