Two days after Uganda confirmed her first Coronavirus (Covid-19) case, the leadership of Uganda police has ordered district, division, and station commanders to release all suspects with minor offenses.
Commissioner of Police – CP Fred Enanga, said as part of the strategies to minimize overcrowding in police cells that poses a health risk to inmates, the police leadership resolved that suspects with minor offenses be released on police bond.
The decision to set free suspects with minor offenses was reached during a special police’s Police Advisory Committee –PAC that was convened by the Inspector General of Police, Martins Ochola at the weekend.
PAC’s ad-hoc meeting deliberated on strategies of implementing President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s 14 directives. On Wednesday last week, the President issued 14 guidelines that included the closure of education institutions, banning of gatherings in worship places, crowding in bars, discos, and clubs among others in the fight against the spread of COVID -19.
Three days after Museveni’s directives, Uganda confirmed her first COVID -19 case from a Ugandan national who returned from Dubai for shopping in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
It is against such background, Enanga said police commanders have also been warned not to detain people with minor offenses but try to use local council leaders to resolve matters that are not serious.
Uganda police force has 27 policing regions covering 142 districts /divisions across the country. The regions accommodate 1676 police stations and 19 specialized units which have all been put on alert to ensure Museveni’s directive are implemented.
Although Enanga could not reveal the number of suspects currently detained in all the 1676 police stations, during the 2017 sit down of government prosecutors, it was revealed that police cells usually have 1 to five suspects on a daily basis.
COVID -19 that started in Wuhan city, in China late last year, has so far killed more than 13,000 people, while over 92,000 of the 304,500 people who contracted the disease worldwide have reportedly healed.