The Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola has described 2022 as a challenging year, asking members of the public to be vigilant as they enjoy the festive season.
In his Christmas message, Ochola said the year has been busy for the force in terms of policing and public safety.
“To begin with, we are entering the festive season amidst a threat environment that is motivated by individuals and groups with violent ideologies. These criminal elements from the ADF and the Uganda Coalition for Change (UCFC), a self-styled rebel group, carried out senseless attacks on police units and personnel, in which some of our officers lost their lives, while others were seriously injured, in the line of duty of protecting the community,” Ochola said.
He however hailed police and other security officers who lost their lives during the attacks, noting that their names will be pinned on the force’s wall of fame.
IGP Ochola also mentioned the violent crimes along the Northern bypass where criminals used pavers to hit pedestrians and also smash windscreens of vehicles before robbing occupants clean and leaving others badly injured.
“We witnessed vandalism of electricity and other utility infrastructure, and the traditional crimes of aggravation like armed robberies and murders. In addition, the global economic crisis that has affected many countries, including Uganda, has created a time of adversity and uncertainty, which has led to a surge in general crimes. “
Ochola said despite the challenges, the joint security forces have managed to stand tall to serve Ugandans by ensuring their safety and that of their property.
“Despite these challenges, I am grateful to the collaborative efforts of the joint security partners, my leadership team, all territorial commanders and frontline officers, who have gone above the call of duty, to prevent, counter, disrupt and dismantle, the criminal elements behind these acts of hostility and violence. As a result we restored sanity along the Kampala Northern bypass, dismantled criminal networks in the greater Kampala suburbs of Nansana, Kyebando, Kyengera, Namungoona, Katwe, Kisenyi as well as in Mbarara and Fort Portal,” Ochola said.
“ We also disrupted efforts by the ADF, to reconstitute and establish operational cells in Lukaya and Butambala, and most recently in Matugga and Maganjo. Several suspects linked to the hostile group were arrested, including the leader of the ADF terror cell in Central Region, a one Kabanda Abdallah Musa alias Mogo. An assortment of exhibits in form of IEDs, suicide bomb jackets, bomb making and instruction materials, rifles, ammunition, motorcycles and electronic gadgets were recovered.”
He said the police has further bolstered security in Karamoja together with the UPDF, made strides in advanced analytics, in Information Technology, forensics, Criminal Investigations and Crime Intelligence among others.
“We have expanded our CCTV network and are committed to an innovative future by developing the e-policing system. We have also undergone numerous structural changes by promoting several gazetted officers, conducted multiple capacity building trainings, recruited new PPCs and also implemented the sub-county policing model, for better protection and quality service delivery in the community. Although there’s still a long way to roll it out, we are proud of what we are trying to achieve. “
The police chief asked members of the public to be vigilant as they celebrate Christmas and all other festivities during this period.
“This Christmas, may we give thanks for the blessings that the Almighty God has granted our nation and in each of our lives. And may the joy of the festive season, renew our commitment to working together for the future of peace, opportunity and hope.”
“Christmas is a period of thanksgiving, togetherness, harmony, peace, love and unity. Let us use this opportunity to encourage and uplift each other, creating time for family and reaching out to the sick and vulnerable people in our communities,” Ochola noted.