Kampala, Uganda | AFRICATEMBELEA | Police commanders have been urged to take action against drivers who are using the force’s vehicles to smuggle goods and ferry people from one place to another.
In an internal message to commanders, Dr Moses Byaruhanga, the police’s director for health services expressed concern about drivers diverting force’s vehicles to illegal businesses.
Byaruhanga describes drivers as the most chaotic and stubborn group in the Uganda Police Force, adding that they have turned themselves into bosses, an indicator that commanders are not doing their supervisory role.
“These drivers are supposed to give you support but they have become your bosses. They have turned vehicles into public service. They are fetching firewood. They are smuggling, and all this is because you are not supervising them,” Byaruhanga said.
The conduct of police drivers particularly those chauffeuring ambulances and patrols have been in the spotlight for years.
There have been reports in which ambulance drivers have been accused of turning them into public cars and using them for smuggling. There have been reports of patrol drivers being accused of staging roadblocks and extorting money from road users particularly in night hours.
Besides, patrols have been accused of causing accidents, leaving several people injured or dead.
The Traffic and road safety report of 2019 shows that 234 police vehicles were involved in accidents.
Police drivers were put in the category of careless and reckless drivers that caused the death of 3,407 people in a single year.
“These drivers switch on sirens and they are never stopped. You call a commander to inquire about an ambulance and they don’t know where they are and what they are being used for,” Byaruhanga adds.
Byaruhanga says the police force has a few vehicles especially ambulances which must be accounted for all the time. The police have only 30 ambulances and some are often grounded.
More than 30 police drivers have been charged in police court in the last three years because of misusing force’s cars and engaging criminal related activities.