THE Police should be transformed and empowered to protect the internally displaced peoples (IDPs) returning to their homes. Speaking at a one-day workshop to evaluate the presence of the Police in northern Uganda, leaders from the north also called for the harmonisation of the army and Police ranks.
The function, attended by leaders from Acholi, Lango and Adjumani was held at Hotel Pearl Afrique on Friday. Gulu resident district commissioner (rtd) Col. Walter Ochora said: â€œA colonel should be a colonel in the Police. The UPDF privates donâ€™t salute Police bosses because they donâ€™t understand the ranking. In many countries, the Police and army have the same ranks.â€
He added that the Police were often referred to as â€˜soft targets and wivesâ€™ of the UPDF soldiers. â€œThe Police needs to be prepared for a tougher role in the north to fight hardcore and highway criminals who might waylay traders enroute to DR Congo and South Sudan,â€ Ochora said.
The MP for Chua county, Kitgum district, Livingstone Okello-Okello said the security at border posts should be stepped up to protect the IDPs from insecurity.
The Police commissioner for community affairs, Asan Kasingye warned the officers against creating a rift with local leaders.
â€œLet us be available to community and solve their crimes,â€ he said. He warned the Police against issuing divorce certificates to the married arguing that only courts were mandated to do that. This was after the leaders complained that some sub-county chiefs in Lira district were issuing divorce certificates for sh5,000.
Kasingye warned the officers against getting bribes to release suspects on Police bond yet it is free.
Empower the Police, say northern leaders