The need to change is not unique to Ugandan policing. In fact, it would be hard to find a police service anywhere in the world today that is not alive to the imperative of change.
“The purpose of the police is to prevent crime taking place and to keep people safe,” Sir Robert Peel, who founded the modern police service in 1829, said the primary test is the absence of crime and disorder.”
My effective crime plan
I am less confident in police crime prevention plan and also about how well prepared our chiefs are to meet another major challenge which they will have to face because we have killers on the run which is bad news for police and communities.
Crime is changing. People are more likely to be victim of a crime at home or online than on the streets where they live; so, traditional approaches to policing need to change.
Fundamental transformation is required to create a more resilient, sustainable and effective police force. Police must ensure that policing remains at the heart of our communities.
Through this simple plan, police chiefs should focus on:
1- Connecting our communities and the police – through a new Local Policing Promise to ensure policing in the local area is ‘accessible, responsive, informative and supportive.’
2 -Preventing and deterring crime – so police can stop people becoming victims of crime.
3 - Protecting people at risk of abuse and those who are vulnerable – safeguarding the vulnerable and keeping them safe from harm.
4 -Providing high-quality and timely support to victims of crime to help them recover and to get justice by improving the criminal justice system.
Need for police to change, Here is why
A quality relationship between the police and the community, including improving the quality of listening, which is greater than ever before. This is not just about efficiency but about focus and priorities for change.
Talk about “protecting the front line” hasn’t helped because the public want reassurance through visible policing, child protection, online safety and an intelligence-led approach to combating local organised crime.
In my view, there is a need for drastic change in our criminal justice system most of the factors that send crime levels up or down are not in the hands of the police, nor even within the criminal justice system.
They are to do with strong and healthy communities, quick intervention and issues like education and poverty. To do things better, tackle the roots of crime and create a better society. Yes, it’s a challenge!
But the real challenge is to continue reducing spending while preserving – or even improving – the quality of service delivered. Yes, the service may be different. It might not be what we, members of the public, have come to expect. But a different service doesn’t have to mean a worse service.
Transforming Uganda police
The current structure of policing in Uganda has been in place for a long time. However, the demands placed upon the service at this time have changed radically and altered how they deliver policing. The funding constraints, and political desire, coupled with a realisation that the structure of policing in Uganda should be revisited.
We need to review how the service can be streamlined and improved upon, to ensure the continued and future delivery of an efficient and effective service. The provision of enhanced partnership activities linked to the delivery of greater economies of scale should be the key component of review.
Adapting to challenges and the dynamics of a changing environment is not a new concept for the police service. Policing in Uganda has many similarities to that of their colleagues who police throughout East Africa irrespective of geography. But in times of financial austerity the responsible leader should also ask, “Is there a way in which I can continue to deliver an excellent service whilst realising greater efficiency?”
It is my view in this context; the police review will identify the need for change, reform the service, to deliver a more accessible, accountable, efficient, effective, sustainable model of policing for the future.
The nature of policing has changed dramatically in recent years. It is important to take time to ensure the public is informed about what the police do and how well it is performing. Police and partners must also ensure the public has a clear picture of respective responsibilities on complex multi-agency.
“Prevention is far better than cure in policing,” Who could argue that a murder solved is better than a life saved? As Peel’s principles put it, police are “paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen.”
When it comes to crime prevention, Peel and Winsor agree, we are all in it together; that’s why such crime plan can bridge that gap. It is an exhortation that comes straight from Sir Robert Peel’s Principles of Law Enforcement and its demand for “absolutely impartial service to the law”.