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Principal judge roots for pay rise for police scientists

Principal Judge Flavian Zeija inside a DNA laboratory at DFS

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Principal Judge, Flavian Zeija, has cautioned that Uganda Police risks losing its scientists if they don’t increase their salaries.

Zeija, who was the chief guest at the commissioning of the Directorate of Forensic Science at Naguru police headquarters, on Thursday, said that as police advance into digital policing, crime monitoring and management, it should think of increasing personnel salaries of its personnel, particularly scientists.

A policeman who holds a certificate in a science course qualifies for the rank of Sergent and earns 800,000 Shillings per month, while a diploma holder in a science-related course earns one million Shillings monthly and becomes an Assistant Inspector of Police upon completion of the police course.

Degree holders earn between 1.5 and 2.5 million Shillings monthly depending on the importance of the science course and needs of the police force at the moment. Degree holders in science courses hold the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police as soon as they complete their training.

However, Zeija said the current earnings are not sufficient and police could find itself losing the personnel. In order to make scientists satisfied, Zeija said police should think of raising salaries of scientists because policing across the globe is now scientific.

“Learning is a continuous process. That goes hand in hand with training. As police leadership, you must be able to train more scientists and you must pay them very well. If you don’t pay them very well they will go,” Zeija said.

IGP Martin Ochola ordered a manpower headcount barely two years ago which revealed that over 3500 police personnel had deserted the force. Most of the deserters were professionals such as computer scientists, lawyers, medical personnel and detectives. The  Field Force Unit- FFU had the biggest number of deserters. 

Andrew Mubiru, the acting director of the Directorate of Forensic Science said that currently, the department has 459 personnel but added that these are very few compared to roles and task the directorate has to execute. The tasks include, among others, identification of victims in disasters such as floods, landslides, helicopter crashes and fire incidents.

DFS has also expressed a need for more equipment such as motorcycles and crime scene vans so as to ease response to crime incidents. Mubiru said currently they have only 70 motorcycles and three vans. 

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