President Museveni has warned police officers against beating members of the public before, during and after arrest.
Museveni made the remarks on Friday as the Uganda Police Force passed out a total of 4809 officers at the ranks of Assistant Inspectors of Police and Probation Police Constables at a function held at the Police Training School, Kabalye in Masindi district.
“Your job is to arrest, get evidence and bring the person to another group of people(judiciary) to punish him. Don’t beat anybody who has already been arrested. You beat him for what? It should not happen,”Museveni said.
The President said that the police ought to redeem its tainted image by becoming pro-people force other than being against the population they are supposed to serve.
“Don’t back at people, treat them with respect. Don’t be rude at them. You must be well trained in use of firearms and other means of self-defense like martial arts. Those capabilities should always be used according to standing orders of the force.”
“Be firm in self- defence that when somebody comes to attack you, use enough or reasonable force to subdue him. Beyond that, don’t beat that person again, you have subdued her, why then are you beating him?”
Museveni said the police can also gain confidence of the public by exhaustively investigating crimes and bringing culprits to book.
“You are educated, well trained, pro-people and ready to defend the public and property. Don’t try to become rich quickly by taking bribes and end up losing value. NRM says you should be a force which is pro-people do defend and uphold the dignity of the people of Uganda.”
Museveni explained that the police force is now moving in the right direction considering the numbers in 1986 when the current government took power.
“From 3000 officers in 1986 to now 46000 is a little bit of movement in the right direction. Right from beginning we were not only after the numbers but also after quality,” he said.
The 4809 officers including Probation Police Constables and Assistant Inspectors of Police will help beef up the force ahead of the forthcoming 2021 elections.
Police had previously indicated that it would be recruiting about 10,000 constables to fill the vacuum created by officers who have deserted, retired, killed or died of natural illnesses.
The force has consistently argued that the current numbers are not enough to conform to the UN policing standard of 1:500 ratio where a single police officer is supposed to man 500 people.
With the current 46000 officers that the force has currently, the ratio is 1:850.