Uganda Police Professional Standards Unit

Uganda Police Professional Standards Unit

Below is an overview of the Uganda Police Force Standards Unit.

Police complaints authority

The UPF has established a Professional Standards Unit to handle complaints from the general public concerning the “misconduct” of police personnel (Uganda n.d.h). According to an article in The Monitor, a Kampala- based newspaper, in May 2008, the Police Professional Standards Unit (PPSU) arrested 17 traffic police officers in Kampala for accepting bribes from motorists (The Monitor 9 May 2008). The article indicates that between the PPSU’s establishment in July 2007 and the article’s publication in May 2008, the PPSU uncovered 909 cases of alleged police misconduct and completed investigations into just over half of them (ibid.). Police officers under investigation reportedly receive half their salary until their case is closed and, if found guilty, are dismissed from the service without benefits or pension (ibid.). Information on the number of police officers who have been dismissed since July 2007 could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Several sources consulted by the Research Directorate make reference to a Human Rights and Complaints Desk (Uganda n.d.c; CHRI 2006, 32), or a Police Human Rights Desk (US 11 Mar. 2008, Sec. 1.d). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007 indicates that in 2007, the Desk investigated cases of police misconduct, including “mismanagement of case papers; torture and harassment; unlawful arrest and detention; abuse of office; irregular or discreditable conduct; and corrupt practices (US 11 Mar. 2008, Sec. 1.d).

According to the UPF website, the advantages of the Human Rights and Complaints Desk include “quick and easy resolution” of public complaints, promotion of better relations between the police and the public and contribution to improving police services (Uganda n.d.c ). However, a 2006 report on police accountability in Uganda by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), “an independent, non-partisan, international non- governmental organisation, mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth,” cites several weaknesses of the Human Rights and Complaints Desk (2006, 31-33). The Desk is located inside police headquarters and is manned by police officers, which may result in a lack of public confidence in registering complaints (CHRI 2006, 32). The report also notes that the Desk is located in Kampala and may not be easily accessible to those in other regions; the Desk is not adequately staffed or resourced to properly investigate complaints; investigations into complaints are internal and not transparent; disciplinary courts are manned by police officers (i.e., the police are policing themselves) and information on whether disciplinary action is taken against accused police officers is not always shared with the public (ibid., 32-33).

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