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Mental assessment for Kampala police officers completed

FILE PHOTO: Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Patrick Onyango.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A two months’ mental assessment exercise for police officers in Kampala Metropolitan has ended.

The exercise that started with police officers at the Fire and Emergency Rescue directorate has been concluded with detectives at Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID headquarters at Kibuli.

In the eight weeks assessment, more than 200 police officers from CID, Fire and Emergency directorate, traffic police directorate and Field Force Unit- FFU were assessed.

Christine Olyel Olanya, Acting Commissioner Police Force Welfare and Health, earlier said police officers’ assessment was endorsed by Policy Advisory Committee –PAC chaired by Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola.

After the top police leadership assessment, police force in partnership with Makerere University psychology professors led by Prof Edward Bantu started a mental assessment exercise purposely targeting a sample of officers from four critical units of the police.

Prof Bantu’s team would use written and oral questions both in groups and individually. It is alleged that the brutality of officers during policing were drivers of the assessment exercise.

Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, said the assessors picked samples of police officers from FFU, CID, traffic and firefighters with a view that their response would give a picture for the entire force.

Onyango said several officers encounter challenges that leave some impact on their mental stability and sometimes that can be detected through emotional evaluations.

Citing CID officers and firefighters who often retrieve decomposed bodies in bushes and pit latrines, Onyango said they deserve regular counselling which has not been offered.

Prof Bantu, also Vice President for World Council for Psychotherapy, said several factors escalate police officers’ mental health. Prof Bantu said the assessment will be a basis for providing counselling and rehabilitation services to police officers.

Olanya previously told journalists that the assessment would among other things help police management understand what drives actions of some police officers. Olanya cited reasons such separation from families because of transfer as a driver for mental problems.

Last month, three police officers committed suicide using their own guns. These include Police Constables, Bernard Wakuma and Ben Langoya, who killed themselves at their respective workstation in Kampala and Ntungamo.



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