Uganda Police has revealed that it has acquired new improved classified anti-riot control vehicles worth billions of shillings which it says will be used to bring about public order and other security concerns.
Police said the tactical armored vehicles are to be used in volatile areas such as dealing with civil disobedience in the country and in combat zones in Somalia to guarantee the safety of officers and protect communities.
Speaking at a function on Thursday, the equipment was handed over by the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP), Richard Edyegu, who is also the director of engineering and logistics at police headquarters Naguru.
While receiving the vehicles, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Tumusiime Katsigazi, noted that the equipment will improve the operational readiness of the Force, and will utilise them for better performance.
“We need to utilise these machines to do better. It is upon us that they are properly maintained and ensure they last longer and serve the purpose,” said Katsigazi.
He also said that the equipment is evidence that police are geared towards serving the community better and ensuring that they and their property are protected.
Katsigazi thanked Government for equipping and supporting the Police.
AIGP Richard Edyegu also noted that the main objective of this procurement was the need to equip Field Force Police with improved versions of the armored personnel carriers and riot control vehicles that can handle the current operational challenges.
The procurement is also meant to improve the operational capacity of Anti stock theft unit in the Karamoja area by providing the personnel with safer and quicker means of transport as they protect and patrol in the Karamoja sub-region.
The equipment includes 15 armored personnel carriers, 50 riot control vehicles
By acquiring anti-riot equipment, the police are adding onto the already existing fleet, with the previous one purchased ahead of the 2016 general election.
During the Thursday function, the police leadership witnessed a demonstration of how the equipment including water cannons and armored personnel carriers are used.
The water cannons released a high speed torrent of water to depict a situation where they are used to disperse rioters but also have sprays that discharge pepper but also clear debris off the road.
The equipment also has cameras to monitor the surrounding.
Police have in the past been blamed for spending so much on purchasing equipment to stifle dissent voices against government, especially from the opposition but ignoring salient issues like welfare of its officers.