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Ochola finally releases guidelines to reduce police shootings

IGP Martins Okoth Ochola. Courtesy Photo

Just over a month since President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni ordered police chief Martins Okoth Ochola to come up with guidelines to prevent shootings by officers, the IGP has issued the required measures.

Violence in last month’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) primaries prompted Museveni to direct Ochola to develop and disseminate a manual showing the procedures on gun use.

He cited violence in Isingiro where police shot two dead, Katakwi and Bugiri, where one person, in each, was killed in police and LDU shootings.

Museveni also told the police chief to distribute the manual to all police and Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel by October 15.

The efficacy of the guidelines will be tested as the country heads to scientific campaigns ahead of the 2021 general elections.

Ochola has now directed all commanders to be the custodians of operational orders.

He also tasked them to emphasize standard operating procedures to officers under them.

He will henceforth require officers to submit reports to commanders after each operation.

The police chief also reminded officers that regular rehearsals with all law enforcement agencies “shall be the routine for uniform application.”

He has also banned use of lethal weapons in the quelling of protests and management of crowds. He also recommended diplomacy between officers and demonstrators and uncooperative suspects.

“When they must be dispersed, there is need to call for the attention of the leaders of the group and ask them to vacate,” Ochola directed.

“If violence continues, the commander shall audibly warn the participants that the assembly will be dispersed.”

The warning and the announcement for the use of minimal force should be made using loud speakers and in the language the people in the area understand.

Ochola also guided on use of fire arms, limiting this to a hostile situation.

“Fire must only be aimed shots, officers must be conscious of innocent bystanders,” noted the IGP.

“In case of shooting, it must be done by selected marksmen and aimed at specific targets and the officer discharging fire must avoid collateral damage.”

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