Sporadic police foot patrols, empty booths and posts in Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) and major urban centres, amid rising crime rates, have left people wondering where the officers have disappeared to.
A police source said the officers, who were deployed at booths and posts, are now deployed at investors’ businesses and premises of high profile people in the country.
“There was a presidential directive to protect investors and scale up the numbers guarding high profile persons. The new deployments have taken a big fraction of our officers that were in the areas you are talking about,” a senior officer said on condition of anonymity.
Police booths were established in crime-prone areas such as on the Northern Bypass in Kampala and Wakiso districts.
Before the presidential orders, investors’ security was being provided by private security firms, but they would be overpowered by criminals armed with automatic rifles incase of any robberies.
Last month, Director of Police Operations Assuman Mugenyi sent a police message to all police units ordering them to redeploy at booths, which he said had been turned into dens for thugs.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Mugenyi said the Kampala Metropolitan Police commanders should not leave the booths to Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel.
“KMP (Kampala Metropolitan Police) commanders with LDUs in their area of responsibility may work with them to utilise the booths as places to re-organise during patrols, but not to take over the full roles and responsibilities of police in the booths establishment,” he said.
However, his orders have not been implemented by police commanders due to inadequate personnel.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said police station commanders that do not have enough manpower were ordered by Kampala Metropolitan Police commander to deploy LDU personnel as a backup.