What you need to know:
- President Museveni in January 2022 appointed Maj Gen Katsigazi Tumusiime, 60, as Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP).
- One year on, Maj Gen Katsigazi speaks to this publication about what he has encountered in the job.
What reforms have you brought to the police since you were appointed?
Thank you, indeed it’s been one year since the date of my appointment but I took over the office around February. I found a number of policies here and also found a number of gaps, which I thought I needed to work on together with my boss, the IGP, and other colleagues.
One of them was a lack of cohesion in police management, they needed to work as a team, so we worked on this together, and I think now we have achieved some level of cohesion and management of police.
Secondly, in response to calls by the public in event of assistance, in picking phones, we have managed to work on that one.
Thirdly, we have reduced laxity, ensuring that the police officers are active and ready to do work, so we think over time, we have reduced laxity in the police, it is work in progress. Obviously we have found corruption to be expensive in Force.
Your predecessor, late General Paul Lokech said all police officers implicated in corruption related cases shall be expelled from police, have you taken note of that?
Yes, there are mechanisms; one is by identifying the corrupt officers and how to deal with them; before you expel them, they first pass through the disciplinary court and a number of them who have been identified as corrupt have passed through the court.
Another is to remove them from whatever they are doing and put them under investigations, so others are under investigations and others are already punished for what they committed.
Police are accused of detaining people beyond the 48-hour rule, what is your take on this?
We fight hard to ensure that we follow the law as far as the 48-hour rule is concerned but sometimes it’s because our tools are not enough; even the personnel doing the investigation and follow-ups but we have been trying hard to ensure that people don’t delay in our cells, yes we are not perfect but we have bettered it, we have trained our personnel in the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) to ensure that investigations are completed in time and the matters are brought to resident state attorneys and DPP’s for handling.
Accommodation for police officers countrywide has been a major challenge; how are you handling it?
Accommodation is generally a problem to the institution. Our barracks are very old, we have engaged the government and it has promised to build more accommodation for police.
Actually as I speak, we are going to enter into a private- public partnership, they [partners] are being verified and a valuation report is going to come out so that we get someone with money who can build us 53,000 housing units and barracks.
First phase, we shall do 30,000 housing units and the rest in the second phase; we hope that if this can be done in the period of five years, we would have mitigated the problem.
There is growing crime of syndicate groups, especially those stealing vehicles and selling them to our border countries such as Congo and South Sudan, what is the police doing to curb the vice?
Yes, there is a racket and I think you have been following what our Directorate of Crime Intelligence has been doing, they have been recovering these vehicles, I think recently our spokesperson Mr [Fred] Enanga displayed some of the vehicles, calling upon the public to come and identify them, but you are right, there is a racket that steals cars, breaks them down into spare parts and sells them …. but we are working hard with both intelligence and civilian population to ensure that the vice is curbed.
This publication last year published stories about faulty CCTV cameras, it has come to our notice that police cameras in upcountry districts are not in functioning.
Cameras are working both here and upcountry but not working 100 percent. The biggest challenge is the existing road infrastructure in various areas, you know we use cables, these fibre cables are cut, once the road construction is going on, these cables are cut and the signals get lost, that’s one of the problems that affect the cameras’ efficiency.
Police to connect into private CCTV cameras
Second is the power; when it is off for some time, we don’t have a backup, which is supposed to come in the second phase. So once the national grid is off, the cameras are off as well.
Then there is also network issues and you know that we work together with National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) for network, sometimes the problem could be NITA-U and it affects cameras, but otherwise we have the necessary technicians but in phase two, we are going to work on the issues, especially backup, we need to have a generator in the district, if power goes off, the generator comes on and we continue.
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Last year, police removed some posts and others were merged, what was the purpose?
We consolidated our police posts due to the manpower challenge. During that time, you remember, we were being attacked by assailants; you could find two people on a post with two guns, these characters would come like six in number, take our guns and kill our people.
Earlier in 2019, the President had directed police to enforce the sub-county model, it meant that at least we have 18 personnel in a sub-county in one station with a vehicle ready to respond, now when threats came up, we thought it was necessary to consolidate our forces to be able to protect themselves as well as the public.
We now have a sub-county policing model with personnel though not 18 because our manpower deficit is still small but at least we can make 10 sitting in one place being able to protect themselves as well as responding by providing them with motorcycles. We are expecting additional procurement of motorcycles.
We are also installing a phone on every police counter that will be on full time, so if there is a motor vehicle or motorcycle, these people should be ready to respond within the radius of the sub-county.
There are reports showing that police still torture suspects from detention centres and also abduction.
Police do not abduct, we have been asking people and political parties, especially National Unity Platform, to give us a list and any other citizen whose person is missing to come to us such that we look around and see who is holding that person. As we speak, we have been able to account for people that were arrested, others were charged, remanded. So we have been able to account for them but there is no abduction.
How is the police relating with other security agencies?
We normally hold a bi-monthly interagency meeting (Police, CMI, ISO, ESO and Prisons) yes there have been incidences where some police officers were shot by UPDF officers, we talk and some of these errant personnel are arrested and these meetings have helped to bring us together such that we address these problems of suspicion. I can confidently say that we now have a good working relationship.
There are cases that have taken time to be concluded, especially murder cases and fires.
Investigations sometimes take long for a number of reasons, the complainants have not come for statement recording, or the evidence is not available; others may be laxity on individual basis, these are things we are looking at in CID especially, there has not been digitalisation of the files , but we have now embarked on digitalising the record system in CID so that if somebody reports a case in Ntungamo District, CID headquarters in Kampala should be able to see it and able to track it digitally.
Secondly some of the personnel, who have overstayed on the jobs have developed laxity but now we are transferring them to other areas to awaken them. CCTV is helping us to quickly bring the suspect to a crime scene , with the help of these, it will help us to quicken the process. However, other matters have been completed only that the reports have not been publicised, the reports are given to the IGP and possibly they are not publicised but we had agreed as management to see how we bring out these reports to the public and that’s what we need to work out.