KAMPALA. Police have started closing 1,663 police posts around the country following spates of attacks on them by criminals, in which several officers have been killed and guns robbed.
Police spokesman Emilian Kayima said the Police Council’s decision to close the posts and revert operations to sub-county headquarters arose out of their vulnerability and their ineffectiveness to respond to crime scenes.
“The Police Council directed the closure of the police posts due to staffing challenges. We were guided by the Council to concentrate on having a police station at every sub-county where police officers and their equipment can be protected and managed well,” Mr Kayima said.
Many police posts have, on average, two police officers.
The number of police posts have been increasing due to security demands from the communities. Mr Kayima said the police stations at the sub-county level will be empowered with at least 20 police officers and motorcycles to enable quick response to the crime scenes.
Currently, there is an average of four or five officers at many police posts at sub-counties. There are 1,403 sub-counties in the country and if each gets 20 police officers, it would require 28,060 police officers. The strength of police in the country is 43,000.
Wamala region police spokesman Norbert Ochom said they have already implemented the orders to close the police posts.
“The manpower at the sub-county are still low, but we have been promised from police headquarters to have more soon. They also promised that each sub-county will have a patrol car,” Mr Ochom said. Currently, most districts have only one patrol car.
Greater Masaka region police spokesman Lameck Kigozi said in some areas, the residents have complained about the closure of their police posts.
The establishment of the posts was started in 2010 under the Muyenga Community Policing model by former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura, who ordered it to be rolled out to the rest of the country.
Most of the police posts have been renting premises they operate from but the police often fail to pay rent.
In the police budget for the current financial year, only Shs400m is provided for office and accommodation rent, which they say is too little given the fact that there are new districts where they have no infrastructure.
To solve the challenges, residents in new estates have been contributing resources for the construction of their police posts and houses for the police officers.
Full list of closed police posts countrywide