There is an ideological problem in the country and there is need to use organized groups
Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo has called for the enactment of a policy to govern operations of crime preventers across the country.
"Using volunteers or reserve forces to complement community policing is not a new or inherently bad concept, but these forces need to be regulated to promote accountability," Odongo said.
Crime preventers are a volunteer force of civilians recruited and managed by Police to report on and prevent crime in cooperation with the Police and communities.
Details are scanty on their numbers and training, but Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, has reportedly set a target of 1.6m crime preventers or around 30 in each of Uganda's 56,000 villages.
"With the law in place, crime preventers will be obligation to be impartial, effectively trained and be held accountable to the highest standards in their policing functions," Odongo said.
He made the remarks during the launch of a three year economic empowerment strategy and founding ideology for crime preventers in Kampala.
A total of 2000 crime preventers from across the country attended the launch held at International University of East Africa.
Odongo also launched the crime preventers' flag, the red, black and white uniform and the crime preventers' anthem at the same event.
He said the programme of crime prevention has strengthened the community policing model by ensuring that members of the community become active allies in an effort to enhance safety and the quality of neighbourhoods through identifying and solving community problems.
Odongo said there is an ideological problem in the country and there is need to use organized groups such as crime preventers to rebuild the national ideology, a narrative shared by the crime preventers' leadership.
The director of the National Crime preventers Forum Blaise Kamugisha said the economic empowerment strategy is aimed at equipping crime preventers with skills necessary for job creation to fight poverty through enterprise partnerships and production.
He said crime preventers are a force of professional youth drawn from higher institutions of learning throughout the country.
"I thank the President and his government for giving energy and momentum to the programme of crime prevention and the transformation of policing from colonial to community policing,"Kamugisha said.