The threat to the police from violent members of the public is on the rise. Kampala Extra Regional Police Commander, Edward Ochom, says an increasing number of police officers are being assaulted by civilians when they enforce the law or effect arrests.
Last month a mob attacked policemen who were arresting a drug trafficking suspect in Kalerwe. Last week, during the operation to rid clear the road of unlicensed bodaboda riders, five traffic officers were beaten by the cyclists along Namirembe Road in Kampala.
Ochom says the police is learning to anticipate violence whenever officers leave for a routine patrol. He says a platoon of anti-riot police are on standby at the Central Police Station to serve as a quick reaction force in the event of unexpected backlashes.
According to Ochom the violence against the police occurs even during routine traffic checks and general operations.
//Cue in: iEven where a boda boda #i
Cue out: i#you pay the receipt.i//
This trend is a reversal of previous complaints about police brutality towards civilians.
Ochom vows that the police will not shy away from enforcing the law, despite the rise in violence against them. He says that attempts to mend fences with the public are going on through community policing outreach projects held around the country on the first week of every month.
In Amuru district, the District Police Commander Jacinto Ovuru, says the community policing project has drastically reduced the crime figures there.
Between June and July had 33 cases of malicious damage, criminal trespass, and inciting violence were reported in the northern Ugandan district. However in August this figure reduced to 15.
Ovuru says that through community policing, the public is able to understand the law and to report cases to the police. He says the number of mob action cases have reduced and more people are turning to the law to have their problems addressed,
The Northern Uganda police spokesperson, Johnson Kilama, says community policing is also a good way for the force to receive direct feedback from the public. He says the police have taken into account recommendations fro the public to increase their vehicle and foot patrols and to establish police posts at village level.