The Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola has disbanded the Flying Squad Unit with immediate effect.
In a message dated May 8, Ochola to all police units, the Director Criminal Investigations Division AIGP Grace Akullo has been asked to recompose the entire Flying Squad Unit with all the duty equipment.
“All Flying Squad personnel are directed to report to CID headquarters for further instructions,” says in part the message by Ochola.
Subsequently, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Herbert Muhangi who has been the Flying Squad commander has been transferred from CID and to general duties and appointed as the head of Manpower and audit department under the Human Resource Administration Directorate.
The Flying Squad Unit has since been replaced with the Organised Crime Unit, a newly created unit to be headed by Detective Senior Superintendent of Police Mark Paul Odong.
The new unit falls under the Special Investigations Unit.
The latest development is part of the many changes initiated by Ochola since he assumed office two months ago.
A few weeks after his appointment as IGP, Ochola started on a campaign to reorganize the police force and he did this by reversing a number of things made by his predecessor, Gen.Kale Kayihura.
Flying Squad was among the affected police units after it was reverted to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations from the office of Inspector General of Police where it directly reported to Kayihura.
Initially, the unit also managed the supervision of the surveillance and Special Operations but this was reverted to by Crime Intelligence unit for handling.
The Flying Squad had taken over big cases and leaving CID with small and cases involving finance but all this was reverted to CID.
Formed in 2012, the Police Flying Squad Unit was put in place to replace the Rapid Response Unit as an emergency response to high crime rates in Kampala and its suburbs.
It had been formed to deal with high profile crimes including those armed robberies, kidnaps, vehicle robberies and murders among others.
The unit had its headquarters at the Kampala Central Police Station and Nalufenya, before the later was closed.
However, the police unit has since its inception leaned much on ill- trained, unprofessional and former criminals as operatives to carry out it work.
There have been a number of complaints against the unit by members of the public over robberies and a number of dirty deals that the operatives have been involved in.
In 2014, while still serving as the OC in charge of Nansana police station, Muhammad Kirumira arrested a Flying Squad operative involved in robbery and paraded him to the media, a case that has since led to his (Kirumira demotion).
In the same year, two Flying Squad operatives including Muhammad Kiwana and Deo Jaaya were shot dead by Godfrey Muhiirwa, a motor spare dealer in Ndeeba, a Kampala suburb as they tried to rob him of over 30 million shillings.
The Flying Squad has also on a number of occasions been cited in torture and extortion of money from suspects they arrest before being released.
Last year, one Reuben Agaba petitioned the High Court for being arrested and tortured by the Flying Squad led by Herbert Muhangi.
Agaba said that he was from Bushenyi, driven to the Kampala Central Police Station before being transferred to Nalufenya where he tortured using hot iron roads and a flat irons applied on his elbows and knee caps by officers allegedly on orders of Muhangi.
The Flying Squad also came in handy during the arrest of Muhammad Kirumira early this year from his home in Bulenga, Wakiso district when they cut the door of his house and forcefully dragged him into a waiting vehicle before being taken to the police disciplinary court.