KAMPALA- Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola, has issued 12 directives to regional, district and division police commanders regarding the management of arms, indiscipline, crime, dress code and observance of human rights.
In a memo, Mr Ochola directs police commanders to streamline the management of guns whether in possession of police, private security organisations and civilians in their areas of jurisdiction.
“To this effect, ensure proper accountability and control measures of all fire arms and restoration of full command and authority. Take proactive action to recover all fire arms being illegally and irregularly possessed. File a full inventory of all fire arms and ammunitions to this office,” IGP Ochola’s top directive reads.
The directives were issued hours after he took over police leadership from Gen Kale Kayihura who had been at the helm for 12 years.
During IGP Gen Kayihura’s tenure, several civilians especially members of Bodaboda 2010, crime preventers and some socialites acquired guns. Photos of crime preventers posing with pistols in bars and other public places regularly made rounds on social media but no action was taken against them.
Bodaboda 2010 patron, Abdullah Kitata and 11 others are being tried in military court after being found in possession of unlicensed guns like AK47 and pistols and military uniforms.
In December last year, socialite Brian Kirumira aka Bryan White was arrested for shooting his neighbour, Mr Victor Bitwire, under the influence of alcohol.
He is facing attempted murder charges at Makindye Court.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Mr Frank Mwesigwa, said Bryan White’s gun could have been smuggled into the country since it was not registered by any government or private security organ.
Mr Ochola has tasked commanders to adopt a stern approach to curb serious crimes like murders, theft of vehicles, kidnappings, narcotics and related crimes as well as offences stemming from land conflicts and domestic violence.
Former IGP Kayihura, in his handover speech indicated that crime had spiked and urged his predecessor to develop mechanisms of fighting it.
Mr Ochola has also asked police commanders to restrict leakage of restricted police information to the public through unofficial channels including social media.
“Take deliberate effort to improve, protect and promote [the] image of the police at both individual and unit level. Ensure strict adherence to human rights by all officers under your command,” he says in the memo.
A week before his sacking, Gen Kayihura has issued a memo warning his officers from sharing information to sister security agencies. Police’s sister agencies usually include Internal Security Organization and the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence which is the investigations arm of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces.