The coming of the new police administration came with a number of promises and fallacies. Among the many was the promise to increase how the police respond to emergencies and calls for help from the public.
In June last year, President Museveni while addressing Parliament on the state of security said that the police emergency call helpline, 999 that had become dysfunctional was to be revived.
According to the President, 999 was to be revived and anyone in distress could be able to call in on this number that was meant to be a toll-free line and Police would then respond in affirmative.
But a fact check by NBS Television, Wednesday 17, has proved contrary to the claims.
A dial to the number 999 had an automated response, saying that “all command center agents are busy, please hold the line for the next available agent”.
The automated response went on for minutes but still could not connect through to the next available agent.
If indeed the fact check call was a distress call for a person with an emergency, the caller would have gone unattended to.
When contacted minutes later, Assistant Inspector of Police (AIGP), Asan Kasingye said that the 999 emergency line often has issues that are beyond their control as Police.
“The 999 sometimes has issues beyond Police level,” Kasingye said in reply.
Kasingye suggested that the public should instead use the Police MOBI App which gives a user a variety of emergency numbers to call on depending on the location.
Asked what happens when the user doesn’t have a smartphone to access the application, Kasingye said that they launched a number of toll-free numbers in the 0800 series.
“We launched toll-free 0800 series. For example, Fire brigade; 800121222, Operations; 800199099, Traffic; 800199099, PSU; 800199199, CPS Emergency 800122291 and the Kidnap response team on 800199990,” Kasingye said in part.
A fact check by this reporter on the Police MOBI app as suggested by Kasingye also found out some faults. The app despite being downloaded and with a steady Wi-fi connection, asks for verification code after submitting in the user’s details which wouldn’t be a problem.
The problem is that even after minutes of waiting, the verification code could not come through, at least by the time of filing this report.
In the security interventions that were announced by the President last year was the use of drones by Police to speed up on the response in case of an emergency. Museveni said that anyone can put through a distress call via 999 and the Police would be able to respond with drones to survey the area instead of having people going around with cars. A year later, has this been effected?