Police cells abetting graft – CSOs

Mbale- The inhumane conditions in police detention centres are to blame for the increasing cases of corruption at police stations, civil society organisations (CSOs) have said.

While attending a dialogue with police in Mbale town organised by the Human Rights Network (HURINET) last week, CSOs said although it is clear that police bond is free, the conditions in police cells are so bad that the suspects are forced to bribe police officers in order to walk free.

The activists told HURINET that suspects at police are kept under inhumane conditions with overcrowded and poorly ventilated cell.

“The cells for Mbale Central Police Station are small, squeezed with poor aeration that if you are held there for just six hours, you will tell your people to sell anything at home so that you get released even when you are aware that police bond is free,” said Mr Safiyi Wakayete, the chairman of Mbale Development Forum.
The coordinator Mbale NGO Forum, Ms Aidah Wetungu, said many of Uganda’s prisoners have little access to basic healthcare, which increases their likelihood of contracting diseases, especially tuberculosis.

Ms Wetungu said although under Article 23(4) of the Constitution, and also Section 25 of the Police Act, Cap.303, a person arrested upon suspicion of having committed a criminal offence, can only lawfully be detained under police custody for a period not exceeding 48 hours, people usually go beyond this time and are forced to bribe police in order to be set free.

The activists said the police in the criminal justice system have got a fundamental role to play in educating all people about police bond through community policing to ensure people are released unconditionally.

The dialogue was meant to equip CSOs with the knowledge of police activities and ensure that they are democratic, accountable and professional when doing their work.

The regional police legal and human rights officer, Mr Moses Musana, said police bond is free and that anybody who has paid for it did it illegally.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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