A retired police officer says he is always surprised when he sees policemen brutalizing members of the public. Pascal Baylon Bitariho, who joined the Uganda Police Force before independence, retired as the Director of Training in the Uganda Police Force over twenty years ago.
A retired police officer says he is always surprised when he sees policemen brutalizing members of the public.
Pascal Baylon Bitariho, who joined the Uganda Police Force before independence, retired as the Director of Training in the Uganda Police Force over twenty years ago.
He says the law allows police officers to arrest and take suspects to court but not to brutalise them.
Bitariho was also concerned at what he called indiscipline in the force saying he has seen policemen in uniform standing on the roadside eating groundnuts.
He wonders why policemen no-longer carry canes saying it was carried to avoid touching things as one walked.
Bitariho, a renowned disciplinarian said at the time he joined the police, the force was respected but today policemen are seen battering people.
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The 77-year-old says instead of beating civilians, policemen should instead surround a riotous crowd.
Bitariho was introduced to Karate in the Uganda Police Force and now says policemen should be brave enough to face any crowd. He says acts of brutality have contributed to the public being disrespectful of the police that whenever people see the police they pelt them with stones.
When asked why he does not render his expertise to police management, Bitariho said he cannot give unsolicited services adding that those who want to benefit from his policing experience should seek him out in his Bunamwaya home.
In Bitariho’s living room is an entire history of the Uganda Police Force, ranging from photographs as a trainee officer to the position of Director of Training.
One of his certificates indicates that he was commended for bravery and tenacity when he investigated and recovered 450,000 shillings which had been robbed from the Madhivani group in April 1969.
When asked why such recoveries are rare, Bitariho said in their time an officer was well paid and corruption was unheard of.
Bitariho says during his time in the force, corruption was unheard of and that policemen never even wore trousers with pockets for fear of receiving bribes. He adds that a police officer who commits an offence should be punished severely because they teach criminals to commit crimes.
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Though Bitariho was reluctant to compare the police in his days and now, he noted that with inflation policemen’s pay should have been increased to fight rampant corruption.
Bitariho’s comments come at a time the Uganda Police Force is struggling to regain its image after being accused of massive human rights abuses, especially when quelling civilian demonstrations.
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