A recent manpower audit directed by Inspector General of Police Martin Ochola has led to a significant reduction in police force numbers across the country, with close to 2,000 officers no longer accounted for.
The audit, initiated to assess the actual presence of officers compared to recorded data, uncovered discrepancies in several districts. Instances were identified where records indicated over 100 personnel, but the audit revealed only 83 individuals present. Consequently, selected Special Police Constables (SPCs) are recommended for regrading courses to address these inconsistencies.
The manpower audit, conducted approximately two years ago, reported a total force strength of 52,000. However, in a recent update, Ochola informed President Yoweri Museveni that the force’s figures now stand at 49,928 personnel, including the integration of over 2,000 SPCs. This implies a loss of nearly 3,000 officers through desertion and retirement in less than two years.
Various factors contributing to officer departure were highlighted by psychologist Prof Edward Bantu, including lack of emotional support and financial challenges. Bantu emphasized that these factors, coupled with the demanding nature of police work, may prompt individuals to leave the force.
The reduction in police force numbers underscores the need for urgent recruitment and training to maintain an internationally recognized ratio of 1:500. The audit reflects the ongoing efforts to align the force with operational requirements and ensure an accurate representation of active personnel.