Over 3000 police officers have deserted the Force – according to ongoing head count ordered by Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola.
Deputy Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango told journalists at the Central Police Station in Kampala Monday morning that these officers could be responsible for the high crime rates.
This is the grim reality revealed by a head county ordered last month by Police Chief Okoth Ochola immediately he replaced General Kale Kayihura as boss.
These officers are Away Without Official Leave (AWOL) although they continue to receive monthly pay from the tax payer.
The missing officers were discovered in all parts of the country. Onyango was not clear whether the errant officers left behind their uniforms and guns when fleeing.
The Police act stipulates a stringent criterion for officers to quit the Forces. Onyango warned officers and men to observe the law in case of deciding to move on.
“According to the law, when declared that a police officer has deserted, OC CID is supposed to open up a file then the officer is arrested and tried in criminal court. The standing order says if they return in 14 days after notice is passed, they will be tried in disciplinary court where they could be fined or serve community work at the barracks before being return to duty,” Onyango said
A published list shows the missing officers are from units including Aviation police, tourism police and the Anti – Stock Theft Unit among others.
The headcount was ordered after claims several police officers were performing non police duties while others have absconded – although they continue to be paid salaries.
By Victoria Bagaaya