PG 5, The Police counter-terrorism department has taken over the training and arming of private guards across the country. According to security sources, the guns that private guards use will also be withdrawn and replaced with firearms that Police can easily monitor and control. The current guns that private security guards use, sources added, are obsolete and need to be replaced with new ones. To enable the exercise, sources say, a private Chinese firm has been contracted to supply new guns to all private guards upon completion of the mandatory fresh training that Police will conduct starting next month. The Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, said the fresh training of private security guards has been ordered by the Inspector General of Police, Okoth Ochola.

To facilitate the training, Enanga said, the director in charge of private security guards and civilian firearms has been ordered to work with the Police human resource director to develop a curriculum for the training. “Our human resource has come up with a curriculum of uniform training of all private security guards. We will equip all private security organizations with rules of engagement. The head of department of private security and private firearms has already met with all leaders of private security guards to give them rules of engagement to prepare for the planned training,” Enanga said. Previously, there was no standard training curriculum with every security firm conducting their respective guard training. There are over 50,000 private guards compared to about 40,000 Police officers in the country. According to Enanga, the fresh training of security guards has been rolled out, following the recent incident of the alleged beating of a Makerere University student, Emmanuel Tegu by unknown people in the presence of security guards. Six days after the incident, Tegu succumbed to the injuries he sustained following the attack. To be able to monitor the deployment of security guards, Enanga said, under the new arrangement, the over 200 private security companies will recruit the guards and then pass them to Police for specialized training. The security guards will be trained at the counter terrorism based in Katakwi district.

For long, the various private security organizations have maintained independent and disparate modes of recruitment and training of private guards with little influence from the Police and other state security agencies. Last year, Police revoked operating licenses of 40 private security firms over failure to renew gun fees. The Uganda Private Security Association (TUPSA) chairperson, Grace Matsiko, welcomed the proposed training by Police. “As private security sector, we are much aware of the important role training plays in enhancing our capacity to serve the nation as we have always been guided by the President and, if Police is to implement what it is promising, this is a welcome move and we shall support it,” he said. Recently, Matsiko added, the private security organizations wrote to, Okoth Ochola, requesting Police to conduct refresher training sessions for guards. “To show our readiness for training, the association of private security, working with some member companies, have set up modern training facilities, including underground firing ranges within Kampala for the training exercise, but we see Police pay lip service to all this. If the Police is not playing to the public gallery, the latest pronouncement on helping us to bridge our training gaps is a welcome move and we shall support it,” he added. Meanwhile, under the review of the deployment of Local Defence Units (LDU), the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has withdrawn local defence personnel from various check-points around the Kampala Metropolitan- Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso, limiting their deployment to night patrols. According to the LDU spokesperson, Maj. Bilal Katamba, the Police will now be taking the main role at the check-points. “The LDUs have not been disbanded. What we have done is to withdraw them from the various check- points and beef up their night patrolling role. At the check-points, Police is playing the lead role. So, the LDUs are still around and will continue to conduct the operations, especially night patrols, as directed,” he said.


Compiled by;

 David Lumu and Simon Masaba.