ARUA. A total of 202 Police officers across West Nile region were on Friday this week passed out after undergoing a two weeks training on public management skills at Mvara secondary school in Arua.

Chief instructor of the training, Mr Michael Okiror, said that West Nile is the third region where police officers have been trained on public order management skills since June last year. Others are Kampala metropolitan area and Eastern Uganda.
“The police administration has thought that every police officer serving should have knowledge as per public order management. That’s why we were sent to deliver the training” Okiror said.

He said objectives of the training is to enhance participant’s ability in managing public disorders in a professional manner, to familiarize participants with equipment and tactics used in public order management operations and to enhance issues of human rights.

“Police force has been ranked the worst in handling riots and this time anyone who will do things outside the circle, will dance to his own tune”, he stressed.

Field Force Unit (FFU) started as Public Safety Unit during Amin rule, Special Force during Obote regime and Mobile Police Patrol unit (MPPU) during NRM regime which later changed into FFU in 2012.

Okiror explained that the current knowledge used is from Italy in which mandate of the unit include public order policing, motorized highway patrols in order to deal with crimes like robbery, support policing inform of detaches and peace support in the international scene, among others.

The trainees were taken through guiding principles on public order management where police officers do not shoot at rioters anyhow before undergoing negotiations, until the commander proclaims release of teargas on rioters after failure by leader of demonstrators to negotiate in respect of human rights observation.
He said many officers have largely been ignorant about command on release of tear gas on rioters and demonstrators and mode of conducting arrests of suspects.

Police officers demonstrate public order management skills during the pass outPolice officers demonstrate public order management skills during the pass-out. PHOTO BY JOSEPH ODAMA.

He said there were three global methods of arrest taught to the officers that include Shoulder lock, body lift and dragging that avoids aspects like tearing clothes on the suspect.
The Arua hill division chairperson, Ms Nezma Ocokoru stressed that police officers sometimes respond to demonstrators out of pressure both from the public and their seniors and called upon the officers to do their work in accordance with the law.
Arua district chairman, Mr Sam Wadri Nyakua noted that the training has come timely when Uganda is entering into election period which may be a difficult time where people need to get prepared.
West Nile regional Security Officer (RISO), Maj Emmanuel Mugisha who represented the Arua RDC at the pass-out said the training was a move to instill order in the public as it is an act of parliament which should not be implemented by the so called “orders from above”
“Public order management is a necessity in management of communities. It should be embraced by us as it is a global issue”, He said.
He said criminals sometimes take advantage of demonstrations to loot people of their properties, a reason police is vital to protect the public demonstrations.
The police has been criticized by Ugandans across all the political divide by misusing the Public management Act (POMA) to curtail freedoms of expression of those who are critical to the government.