As we enter the festive season, I would like to take this opportunity, on my own and the behalf of the entire police fraternity, to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, 2021. We all know the festive season is a happy time of the year and an opportunity for families and communities to come together to rejoice and celebrate. During this Christmas week, we all need to reflect on the incredible journey each one of us has made this year. A year that was extremely challenging, particularly with the threat of Covid-19 and its significant impact on society. The situation is even more worrisome now that the vaccine is still months away, and yet many members of the public are complacent and not adhering to the health SOPs of facial covering, proper hygiene and social distancing.
All Ugandans must know that regardless of who you are, crime and Covid-19 affect us all. We therefore, need to be mindful of Covid-19 by celebrating in very safe and socially distanced ways to help protect our families, friends and all those who are dear to us. We also need to remain vigilant about criminals, who always take advantage of such festivals to victimize members of the public through acts of thefts, robbery, house breaking, fraud, cybercrime. etc.
As you are aware, this festive season is embedded within an electoral period for Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government positions. Despite our policing efforts, the political campaigns faced some threats and vulnerabilities that included; acts of civil disobedience such as riots and violent protests, defiant campaigns, provocations of security forces into violent confrontations, intimidations and minor criminal activities, looting, vandalism, and pick pocketing.
Despite all these challenges, as the police and sister security agencies, we are grateful to the strategic plans and multi-agency tactical responses which enabled us to deal with those challenges. We deployed visible and non-visible resources that helped crack down the perpetrators of these violent crimes. We also expanded our crime prevention campaigns and zoned the hotspots areas in 13 zones, mapped out all crimes and efficiently collected data on them, completed the installation of CCTV cameras in the greater KMP area and rolled out the second phase to cover other cities, municipalities major towns and highways, promoted new technologies like DNA fingerprinting of guns, and the automated fingerprint analysis. In addition we have deployed specialist teams at selected locations, to counter all forms criminality and further made improvements in our investigations and intelligence processes.
As a country, we have celebrated several religious festivals like IDD, Easter, Uganda Martyrs and public events like Independence Day, in very safe and healthy settings. We can still do so during this Christmas season without losing the much appreciation to each other.
We would like to thank all members of the Joint Task Force, for their hard work over the year, in keeping Uganda and visitors safe. Although, on many occasions the great work of security personnel goes unnoticed, we are extremely proud of their achievements in reducing crime. This year alone, we anticipate a further decrease in crime by 5.4%. There is a substantial reduction in gun crimes due to the DNA fingerprinting of guns, and continuous operations aimed at dismantling criminal gangs actively involved in kidnaps, human trafficking, and robberies of mobile money dealers, boda-bodas riders, business persons, factories and murders. In addition, there were further disruptions of shops and garages dealing in suspected stolen items of mobile phones and electronic gadgets, motor vehicle spares etc.
We have however witnessed an increase in acts of provocation and attacks against members of armed forces. This is not acceptable, because these officers put their lives in the face of danger, to keep Ugandans and visitors to our country safe. Several perpetrators of violence against security officers have been arrested and charged in court respectively.
We would like to further show appreciation to all other frontline workers and emergency workers actively involved in the fight against Covid-19. These include workers in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, the Business Community, Service sectors and CSO, etc who have jointly worked with us. They deserve our respect together with members of the public for their increased level of cooperation, especially the LCs, concerned citizens and volunteers.
Once again I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe, peaceful and healthy, Christmas and happy New Year, 2021, full of aspirations and new resolutions. We look forward to strengthening further our level of cooperation with partner agencies and the public to keep our country among the safest places
Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2021.
J.M Okoth – Ochola, (Esq)
Inspector General of Police