The head of the Police Marine Unit, James Apora has said the unit is still ill-equipped and has less manpower which makes it hard for them to secure all the country’s water bodies.
Apora made the remarks on Friday during the function to pass out a group of 46 Marine Police officers who have just finished a six-week refresher course at the Police Marine base in Kigo, Wakiso district.
“We are asking for a boost in personnel because we have only 288 personnel manning the four major lakes in the country yet they(lakes) are scattered,”Apora said noting that they are deployed at Lakes Vitoria, Kyoga, Albert and Edward.
The Marine Police commandant said the unit does not have enough equipment used for diving in case of a rescue mission whereas the patrol boats are not enough.
“The fuel is not enough as each detach is given 100 litres per month which is very little. There is a need to refurbish the big boats that would help us in doing patrols in the deep waters whereas we also need funds for advanced training of our personnel.”
Apora said the officers don’t have decent housing units; a thing he said also needs to be looked into.
However, in response, the Police Director in charge of Operation, AIGP Asuman Mugyenyi said the problems mentioned by the Marine Unit commander, face not only his unit but the entire force and that efforts are underway to solve them.
“The problem of manpower does not only face the Marine Unit but the entire force. It is a challenge because policing demands keep on increasing yet our size keeps on reducing,” Mugyenyi said.
He, however, noted that the issues raised would be forwarded to the Inspector General of Police for discussion to see how best they can be solved.
The six-week refresher course saw Marine Police officers get skills in rescue, first aid, weapon (gun) handling and maintenance and VIP protection.
The officers were also taken through marine laws and ideological orientation as well as looking at the past incidents on Uganda’s waters, the latest being the November 2018 debacle at Mutima beach involving MV Templar in which over 30 people drowned.