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IGP Ochola issues directives against parking police vehicles in residential homes

IGP Ochola

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola has banned keeping of police vehicles at residential homes. The IGP’s ban has been issued through Commissioner of Police, James Apora who is also the acting director police fleet management.

Police drivers including those of senior police officers have been directed to always ensure that vehicles are parked at police stations and keys handed over at the counter. Drivers are expected to drop their bosses to their respective homes and immediately drive back to respective stations and park the vehicles.

“All police motor vehicles coming out for the official duty must be booked out by the unit commander or any other assigned officer. All patrol vehicles moving out of the station for official duty must move with a car commander,” read the new directives.

The 11 directives on fleet managing are intended to ensure effective use of functioning fleet. It has since emerged that CP Apora’s team at police mechanical workshop along Port bell road informed the deputy IGP Maj Gen Katsigazi Tumusiime, that several cars and motorcycles are grounded and they cannot be repaired because of insufficient funds.

A report prepared by the directorates of research, planning and political commissariat, barely two years ago, shows that police fleet had increased to 9,226 from 7,410 in 2017. This meant that the fleet had increased by over 1,800 cars and motorcycles in a space of three years.

This fleet according to the 2020 report consisted of 7,736 motorcycles, 1,238 general purpose vehicles, 186 specialised vehicles and 19 construction vehicles. However, it is reported that a number of these vehicles and motorcycles that were used by police during the recent intense political protests and elections developed mechanical issues but have not been repaired.

Maj Gen Katsigazi has since come out to confirm that indeed police engineers and mechanics have intimated to him that several vehicles and motorcycles are grounded. Maj Gen Katsigazi explains that the police vehicles that are grounded were involved in road crashes by reckless drivers, adulterated fuel especially upcountry and lack of spare parts.

“As part of my familiarization tour, I visited the police workshop on Port Bell road. I met the senior police officers and in their briefing they were able to tell me that they have a number of police vehicles undergoing repair, some of them due to wear and tear. Some of them due to accidents that happen on our roads,” Maj Gen Katsigazi said.

Maj Gen Katsigazi explains that indeed he has seen a number of vehicles and motorcycles which could have been used in operations and highway security maintenance grounded, which poses a security risk. But in equal measures, Maj Gen Katsigazi has since vowed to deal with police drivers who involve the vehicles into crashes due to their reckless driving.

There has been an increase in the number of police vehicles involved in crashes. For instance, 2020 had a double number of police vehicles involved in crashes which stood at 507 compared to 234 of 2019.

Other directives as sent to police commanders include all vehicles moving out of the station for official duty to move with a car commander, all patrol vehicles equipped with crew seats to always have foot rests folded once the crew have disembarked, all motor vehicles and motorcycles to be inspected every Monday after the District/Division Police Commander (DPC) parade.

“Car commanders are directly responsible for any misuse of these motor vehicles assigned for use and must provide written reports to the unit commander about any damages,” CP Apora’s states. “All unit commanders must submit monthly fuel accountabilities to deputy director fleet management.”

It is reported that before the 11 new directives were issued, there was a Policy Advisory Commit (PAC) where the issue of fleet misuse and management was comprehensively discussed.

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