A senior police officer who preferred anonymity to speak freely said the recent audits revealed that many police officers have been earning salary yet their physical presence remains a mystery.
IGP John Martins Okoth Ochola. Upf.
The recent manpower audits ordered by the Inspector General of Police,
Martin Ochola, have again reduced the police force numbers by more than 2,000.
While handing over office to Ochola as the new IGP on March 15, 2018, Gen Edward
Kayihura who had been at the helm of the police for 12 years said he had left a
force of over 46,000 personnel.
Police resumed recruitment in 2019 and passed out a cohort of 4,809 police
officers in August 2020 including Police Constables and Assistant Inspectors
of Police. In 2021, police again passed out over 5,000 recruits.
Although police have been retiring nearly 500 personnel on grounds of
clocking the retirement age of 60 years and health matters, the two cohorts put
the numbers at more than 56,000 going by the numbers left by Kayihura.
If the police have been retiring about 500 personnel ever since Gen Kayihura’s departure five
years ago, the force would be at least 53,000.
The first manpower audit was conducted barely two years ago and Ochola
confirmed that the total strength of the force stood at 52,000. “We greatly
appreciate the [Museveni] wise and visionary strategic guidance you gave us to
grow both in quantity and quality. The total Police Force strength now stands
at 52,000 against the population of about 42 million which translates into a
police population ratio of 1:832 as compared to last year’s ratio of 1:893,”
Ochola said in November 2021.
However, Ochola in his latest brief to President Yoweri Museveni at Masindi
a few days ago said the force’s figures now stand at 49,928 personnel. Ochola said
the 49,928 includes the more than 2,000 Special Police Constables (SPCs) who
have been integrated into the police force. SPCs are men and women temporarily
recruited to mann polling centers during the general elections.
“Numerically, the force will now have a staff strength of 49, 928 personnel
against a population of 43 million. This appears pleasant, but still, falls below the internationally
recognized ratio of 1:500. This re-affirms the need for urgent recruitment and
training,” Ochola said.
Ochola’s latest statistics including the 2,000 SPCs mean the force has
lost nearly 3,000 officers in desertion and retirement in less than two years. It
has been established that the manpower audit conducted about three months ago
showed that the police force numbers were drastically reducing.
A senior police officer who preferred anonymity to speak freely
said the recent audits revealed that many police officers have been earning salary
yet their physical presence remains a mystery.
“There are districts where our records show they have more than 100
personnel but when the audits were done, we found only 83 personnel. No one
knows where the 17 went. This is why we were asked to recommend disciplined
SPCs to go for a course to be regraded,” a senior officer said.
Psychologist, Prof Edward Bantu, who conducted a mental assessment of police
officers in early 2020 said there were several factors forcing police officers
to desert the force. Bantu said lack of emotional support and financial woes can force anyone to quit the job.
“If someone is working in traffic where he or she is surrounded by noise
and doesn’t get regular counseling, they get tired and decide to quit. Men and
women in forces are committed to serving their nation. But once they feel that
they not getting enough emotional support, they can decide to quit,” Bantu
In 2019, it emerged that more than 3000 police officers had deserted the
force between 2013. However, police leadership established that several police officers remain earning salaries even when they are no longer active in
Senior Staff Reporter
Mr Joseph Kato graduated with a Master's Degree of Art in Journalism & Communication on February 02, 2024 at Makerere University. He holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Journalism and Media Studies which he attained in 2023 at Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway.
Mr Kato holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University. The Master's Degree studies and a decade of journalism practice have enabled Mr Kato to be one of the reliable researchers in areas of conflict, r