KAMPALA. The police have stopped feeding their officers except those responding to riots and other civil disobedience incidents in the country.
The affected group, especially lower rank officers in urban areas, told Daily Monitor that they are now working on empty stomachs.
Police spokesman Asan Kasingye confirmed the developments saying it was a decision by police management.
“It is part of cutting costs. Officers, who aren’t in operations, can cook for themselves. Police can no longer feed everyone in the Force,” Mr Kasingye said.
Last year, food suppliers froze delivering food to the police due to accumulated debts. By 2016, the food suppliers were demanding around Shs28b from police.
Among the officers affected are those in traffic, general duties, counter terrorism and criminal investigations department.
Police spends between Shs4,500 and Shs5,000 on feeding each officer a day.
According to police budget, at least Shs30b was set aside to feed police officers responding to riots across the country.
Before the financial challenges in the police, every officer was entitled to three meals a day. Officers off duty in police barracks would also benefit. Police used to transport food to all places where their officers were deployed.
Police officers in Police General Duties Department operating in Nakawa Division, Kampala, said despite spending all the time in the field, they aren’t considered to be in operations. “We work without eating food. I operate in an area where the cheapest meal goes for Shs10,000. If I am to spend that money every day on a meal, then I would not have balance for supper because I earn less than Shs400,000 a month,” the officer said.
Another officer in Field Force Unit said even when they are conducting operations they are often not supplied with food.
“An officer put on standby isn’t considered to be in operation. They want to give food to only officers in riots,” the officer said.
A detective said the shortage has forced them to ask suspects to link up with their relatives to send them food.
However, Mr Kasingye refuted the allegation that suspects aren’t fed saying feeding them in cells is a human right.
“A suspect must be given food when he or she in police custody. Each police region is given money to supply food to the suspects,” he said.