IGP Ochola Issues New Guidelines on Gun Use by Police

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • October 23, 2020

The Inspector-General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola has issued a series of guidelines on gun use to all police officers around the country.

In a manual released by Ochola, all police officers, commanders must ensure there is an operational order for each operation but also remind their juniors of the Standard Operating Procedures to be followed before any operation.

“After each operation, the officers deployed must be debriefed. Regular rehearsals with all law enforcement agencies shall be the routine for uniform application,” Ochola said.

Use of firearms

According to the manual, firearms must only be used in situations of self-defence or any other circumstances where order cannot be restored or a specific duty performed unless firearms are used.

‘The situation must be hostile as to justify the use of firearms and fire must only be aimed shots, officers must be conscious of innocent bystanders,” Ochola says.

“In case of shooting, it must be done by selected marksmen and aimed at specific targets and the officer discharging fire must avoid collateral damage.”

According to the manual, in case of an incident of shooting, the wounded should be cared for by police officers until medical evacuation arrives.

Dispersing crowds

According to the manual , demonstrators and rioters must be treated as opponents and not as armed enemies and therefore, no use of lethal weapons.

“When they must be dispersed, there is need to call for the attention of the leaders of the group and ask them to vacate. If violence continues, the commander shall audibly warn the participants that the assembly will be dispersed,” the manual says.

“If the violence continues, make a proclamation using loudspeakers and in a language the public understands.”

The manual has come at a time when the Electoral Commission released the timelines for campaigns in the forthcoming elections where it is expected to see increased confrontation between security and politicians.

In his directive, President Museveni said the manual should clearly indicate how to handle various incidents by security personnel.