Police on Friday unveiled what they termed as a master plan that would help them break the back of the several criminal gangs terrorizing most parts of the greater Kampala Metropolitan Area.
This area includes the districts of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono and have been ravaged by rampant crimes orchestrated by gangs operating almost in a similar fashion.
President Museveni early this week directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj.Gen.Muzeeyi Sabiiti to lay down a security plan that would see these gangs combated.
Following the directive, several security chiefs met at the Police headquarters to brainstorm on the directive by the commander in chief of the armed forces.
On Thursday, the security chiefs met Museveni at his farm in Kisozi, Gomba district and took him through the plan and later unveiled to journalists at the Police headquarters in Naguru.
The meeting at the Police headquarters was attended by AIG Lt.Gen. Peter Elwelu(UPDF Land Forces), Maj.Gen. Sam Kawagga(UPDF 1st Division commander), Brig. William Bainomugisha (Military Police commander) AIGP Asan Kasingye(Police Chief Political Commissar), AIGP Col. Sserunjogi Ddamulira(Police Crime Intelligence Director), AIGP Asuman Mugyenyi( Police operations director), Moses Kafeero(Kampala Metropolitan Police commander), Kampala North and Kampala East Regional Police Commanders.
The deputy Inspector General of Police on Friday admitted that despite the presence of the 12 point security program unveiled by the President last year, there has been a wave of violent crime in Kampala Metropolitan area compelling security to come up with a new plan to combat them.
“This reviewed plan sits within the 12 wider measures announced last year by the President. I want to report that a lot of strides have been made in this regard, including the aspects of installation of cameras, fingerprinting of firearms, improving the police forensics capacity, as well as improving the Crime Intelligence and Criminal Investigations Directorates, all of which are ongoing,” Maj. Gen.Muzeeyi Sabiiti said.
He said the revised approach will be premised on five measures.
According to the deputy Police chief, the new master plan will emphasize the linkage between police and members of the public in which each family in a zoned area will be given a telephone line for the nearest police station or police post.
These lines will be used for calling in case of any incident for police to respond in time.
“The public is encouraged to share all relevant information on all matters of security including distress calls. We shall put suggestion boxes at the stations and LC offices. Messages will only be accessed by a select team and all the messages will be treated with confidentiality. The public can also deliver text messages or what’s app messages on 0707114114,” Sabiiti said.
He, however, asked the public to also form their own local based security approaches such as village patrols and installation of security cameras among others.
The new plan will see Police officers mandated to respond quickly in case of any alert by members of the public.
This the police boss believes will help in averting crime and arresting suspects.
“In this regard, the Kampala Metropolitan Policing area is going to be divided into policing zones or security constituencies for each station or post, with attendant published call lines, reaction forces and linkage to all stations and posts as well as cameras, when there is a distress call,” Sabiiti said.
He noted that this would be enabled through registration and marking of streets and residences to enhance quick response.
This way, in case of any incident, when the police are called, the person calling should be able to give them the exact location of the attack by giving the street name which help security in easily identifying the person under attack.
Effective investigations, prosecution
According to the master plan, police will ensure a more robust and dedicated prosecution and judicial set up to help handle cases.
In the past, security has been lambasting the judiciary for releasing or giving lenient sentences to the criminals who later resurface to terrorise the public.
The Internal Security Organisation Director-General, Col.Kaka Bagyenda recently said it is appalling for criminals to be arrested but released in a few days by courts of law.
He said between 2017 and 2018,they initiated an operation code-named “Dumisha Usalaama” in which over 400 criminals were arrested but noted that six months later, 80 percent of these people(criminals) had returned to the streets to terrorize the public.
“I said, we could not sit like clowns and watch this happen. We built intelligence positions on these groups and started harvesting the cream or hardcore criminals but at the same had to protect our assets(who gave us information about the criminals),”Col. Kaka said, adding that they resorted to keeping the criminals in safe houses so they don’t return to the streets to terrorise the public.
Police records show that that the biggest percentage of crimes are committed by repeat offenders who have been arrested and jailed but return to pick from where they ended.
This was witnessed in the recent spate of mobile money robberies in which a number of mobile money agents were killed and huge sums of money robbed by gunmen in various parts of Kampala.
An investigation by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence indicated that the masterminds of the crime were former UPDF soldiers who had been arrested on the same charges but released.
The investigations led to the arrest of Edward Mubaale, Issa Ntale, Denis Mwangusho, Bob Anichan, Stanley Mulunda who were arraigned before the army court chaired by Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti and charged with murder and robbery.
The army spokesperson, Brig. Richard Karemire said it was found out that all the suspects had earlier been arrested for involvement in several robberies involving huge sums of money but had resumed their activities after release from Luzira.
Following their release, mobile money robberies greatly reduced.
According to the new security plan, they would ensure the judiciary gives stringent jail terms to all convicted suspects.
Maj. Gen.Muzeeyi Sabiiti said the investigators will be urged to do it thoroughly so that there is incriminating evidence to pin the suspects in these crimes.
Profiling of hardcore criminals
Because most crimes are done by the same people, security will continue with their ongoing efforts to profile and pursuit hardcore and repeat offenders.
This would mean that the hardcore criminals will be closely monitored and in case of any crime committed, they would be the first suspects.
Is the master plan new?
The five-point security master plan released by the Deputy Inspector General of Police is not something new as almost all the measures have been in place.
Following the introduction of the community policing initiative by the then Inspector General of Police, Gen.Kale Kayihura, police asked the public to report incidents to the nearby police stations or posts but the same has not been effective for a number of reasons.
Just like President Museveni pointed out in 2018, the public fear to report to police because on many occasions, some police officers leak the information to criminals and puts the life of the members of the public in danger.
Police have always been accused of being slow in responding to crime incidents and this was witnessed last month when Maria Nagirinya and her driver, Ronald Kitayimbwa were kidnapped from Busega.
According to a narration by the President, it took long for police officers manning CCTV cameras to track the suspects who were driving Nagirinya’s vehicle despite being alerted by relatives.
“Take the case of Nagirinya. When she was kidnapped, the relatives, immediately, informed the Police of Kibumbiro Police post at Nateete, by about 00:43 hours. The officer there should have informed all the Police units and patrol cars and the camera centres about the type of car that had been hi-jacked. The cameras then would track that vehicle and those criminals would have been arrested or killed before they abandoned the car at Nateete, after dumping the bodies of the victims in Mukono,” Museveni said.
By the look of things, all the strategies unveiled in the new security master plan are old but according to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, they are worth it.
“Plans fail because of lack of implementation but we will not allow these good plans to fail. We will ensure they work out,” Maj. Gen.Muzeeyi Sabiiti said.
“We shall take action against our own officers who fail to act and implement these plans.”
Security chiefs, however, say the new measures will be implemented along the old ones including gun fingerprinting, use of CCTV cameras and deployment of Local Defence Unit personnel.
“LDUs have arrested over 2000 criminals and we believe they are doing a good job. The only issue is that courts need to be hard on these criminals,”Lt.Gen. Peter Elwelu, the commander Land Forces in the UPDF.