GULU – Local leaders have accused police of the rising number of criminal gangs in Gulu City causing havoc in the area.
The leaders also accused police of self deployment to extort money from the public in the disguise of enforcing the presidential directive on Covid-19.
The concern was tabled before the Assistant Commissioner of Police Community Policing, Mr. Mutelerwa Anatol at the City health boardroom who summoned the local leaders for a security meeting as crime rate escalates.
Vincent Ocan, the LC1 Chairperson Industrial area in Bardege-Layibi Division told the Commissioner in the meeting that the police have continued to receive bribes from the criminals and set them free.
Ocan also alleged that within the forces itself, there are personnel who connive with the criminals to steal from the public as they share the money, a situation he blamed for the rising number of the criminal gangs in the City.
“There was a time we arrested some criminals who we knew where the ones terrorizing the area were and handed them to police but Shs 50,000 only, was enough to set them free,” Ocan allegedly said.
The area LCI Chairperson, Go-down cell also in the same division similarly complained of elements of criminality within the forces itself which he says has failed crime management in the City.
“I was attacked by about 70 gang members but I was with arrows and managed to arrest some but when I handed them to the police on night patrol, what happened was money at play as they walked away so what crimes are we fighting when the forces are the criminals,” he asked the Commissioner.
Meanwhile, the area LCII Chairperson, Alex Okoya also expressed his disappointment with police who take self deployment to extort money from the public.
“They are not only compromised in the line of their duty but are partnering with criminals to steal from the public,” Okoya told the Commissioner.
The Commissioner then quickly summoned all the junior officers that include the criminal intelligence department and the operation commanders in the same meeting.
The new District Police Commander (DPC), Gulu Peter Ocen however noted that most of the officers are new but pledged to restore order in the City with stringent measures on crime management and prevention.
“If you have no confidence in me then I ask the Commissioner to take me away from here but what I know is that I will deliver if you support planned activities for interventions,” he assured the local leaders.
Muleterwa Anatol, the Assistant Commissioner for Community Policing noted that the reports and the concerns raised will be discussed and scrutinized which will attract punitive action.
“We don’t condone misconduct in the forces and you have seen many police officers implicated and dismissed from the service and you will see many more coming back home if that is what we are getting on the grounds,” he warned.
He revealed that the force is in a nationwide consultation and engagement with the stakeholders to develop new community policing strategy on crime prevention and management to uphold the security of the country.
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