The Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola in his Christmas message has warned all Ugandans to be aware of criminals as they enjoy Christmas and to follow standard operating procedures-SOPs to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Ochola says that people must know that regardless of who they are, crime and Covid-19 affect everyone, therefore, everyone needs to be mindful of Covid-19 by celebrating in very safe and socially distanced ways to help protect our families, friends and all those who are dear to you.
The IGP says criminals always take advantage of such festivals to victimize members of the public through acts of thefts, robbery, house breaking, fraud, cybercrime; Ugandans need to remain vigilant about criminals.
He adds that as a country, we have celebrated several religious festivals like IDD, Easter, Uganda Martyrs and public events like Independence Day, in very safe and healthy settings. We can still do so during this Christmas season without losing much appreciation to each other.
“As you are aware, this festive season is embedded within an electoral period for Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government positions, despite our policing efforts, the political campaigns faced some threats and vulnerabilities that included; acts of civil disobedience such as riots and violent protests, defiant campaigns, provocations of security forces into violent confrontations, intimidations and minor criminal activities, looting, vandalism, and pick pocketing” IGP Ochola writes.
Despite all these challenges, as the police and sister security agencies, police are grateful to the strategic plans and multi-agency tactical responses which enabled them to deal with those challenges.
According to Ochola, this year alone, police anticipate a further decrease in crime by 5.4 percent, and there is a substantial reduction in gun crimes due to the DNA fingerprinting of guns, and continuous operations aimed at dismantling criminal gangs actively involved in kidnaps, human trafficking, and robberies of mobile money dealers, boda-bodas riders, business persons, factories and murders.
He further warned that police have however witnessed an increase in acts of provocation and attacks against members of armed forces, adding that this is not acceptable because these officers put their lives in the face of danger, to keep Ugandans and visitors to our country safe. Several perpetrators of violence against security officers have been arrested and charged in court respectively.