The Police’s community policing department has taken the gospel to refugee camps in different parts of the country in their efforts to prevent crime.
On Monday, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Anatoli Muleterwa, the head of the department met various heads of the refugee camps and the local council leaders of the host communities in the West Nile districts of Adjumani, Moyo, Madi Okolo, Arua and Yumbe .
“We organized such meetings in the refugee settlement areas as one of the key output areas of community policing. We have met with the refugee welfare committees at all levels, refugee communities, host communities and local council leaders to improve the working environment through community engagement,” Muleterwa said.
According to Muleterwa, the drive is aimed at building a sense of hope in refugees but also listen to problems affecting them.
“The message we have prepared to share with refugee communities is building a sense of hope in them, given the nature of background of where they come from. So, as police through community policing and sensitization, we have come to give them a sense of hope that while they are here, they must have a sense of security which is a shared responsibility by playing particular roles like giving us information, coordinating any issues from the local community which is the grassroot of security,” he explained.
Refugee settlements have always had conflicts with their host communities on several occasions and these have seen a number of them killed whereas others injured.
There have been other cases of criminality among refugee settlements.
Muleterwa said they are aware of all these dynamics, noting that the community policing drive will try to find solutions to the problems.
“We have listened and identified problems affecting them, and like the principles of community policing, through this kind of engagement, we have generated consensus and a lot of hope that we will build on to consolidate sustainable development,”Muleterwa said.
“We also warned them about committing crimes but be law-abiding citizens, desire to be united, love each other have common destiny for ourselves. We urged them to take interests in knowing the cultural norms of the society they are in but also cooperate with security agencies and provide them with information.”
In response, the refugee communities decried the problem of food scarcity that they said are the main source of conflict with their host communities but police promised to talk to authorities for a permanent solution for the problem.