KAMPALA – The Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth Ochola has issued new standard operating procedures on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officers during operations.
This is in response to a directive by President Museveni to the effect that IGP Ochola issues guidelines, in form of a booklet, on use of firearms to all police units, LDUs and private security firms to stop excesses.
According to the guidelines, the law enforcement officers must “always aim at the protections and preservation of human life, property and human dignity”.
In guidelines to disperse demonstrators, IGP Ochola issued three steps the officers should take including talking to the leaders to stop their activities first, and if they refuse, the commander must audibly inform the group to disperse. The third, when they insist on the assembly, the commander must make a proclamation for them to leave the venue before using non-lethal methods to disperse the errant ones.
According to the booklet, when the verbal warning isn’t heeded to by the demonstrators, the commander of the law enforcement group must fire three bullets in the sky first as a warning sign to the demonstrators.
“It must be proportional to the attacking force. For example, if stones, bottles are being thrown at police or abusive and provocative language, such would not justify the use of firearms. If force must be used, non-lethal weapons should be employed first,” one of the principles of using force in the booklet reads in part.
IGP Ochola said “rioters are momentary opponents and should never be treated as enemies set principles and procedures for use of force”.
“Demonstrators or even rioters should be treated as momentary opponents and not as armed enemies. This called for use of non-lethal weapons,” a guideline on use of lethal force reads in part.