POLICE STATEMENT ON ARRESTS AT COURT PREMISES
This is to inform the public that the re-arrest of persons accused in the murder of the Late AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, by the police in close coordination with sister security agencies, has generated much debate including from senior members of the Judiciary.
As parties under the Criminal Justice System, we do complement each other, in many ways. We do respect Courts as places where anyone can seek help or have their cases heard. In addition most of the facilities are guarded by us, reason why they provide a safe and controlled environment.
The public should note that, the police have powers to enter premises, to arrest a person, detain a person or execute a warrant, if they believe on reasonable grounds that the person is inside that building or premise. This can be with or without a warrant. Therefore, entering a court room or being present within court premises does not place any one above the Law or exempt them from Law Enforcement.
In addition there is no Law that prevents police from conducting arrests within Court premises, provided there are reasonable grounds to do so. We have arrested criminals who have attacked judicial officers on duty, and also arrested officials who have victimized people within court premises. It is surprising that in this instance, we were attacked in the manner that we strongly believe sets a dangerous precedent and also shows the double standards by senior members of the Judiciary.
Probably, courts are not happy with the way bail is perceived in some occasions by Law enforcers. We are aware that the purpose of bail is to allow for people accused of crime but not yet proven guilty to be released from Prison. This includes dangerous persons with great potential of re-offending. Of recent we have seen that some of those released from Prison or Courts, have committed new violent crimes immediately after their release.
As a result, the IGP is going to issue a circular to all Units on policing actions within court premises, making it clear that arrests should not be made indiscriminately. They should proceed to arrest, targeted criminals, suspects who pose national security threats and those who pose crime and safety threats within court premises, in a manner that does not disrupt court business.
As we conclude, the 4 accused persons bailed out on the 11/09/2019, were re-arrested on new developments of alleged conspiracy with external criminal networks while in prison. The matter is being investigated by the Special Investigations Division, Kireka.
The IGP will also explore ways of increasing collaboration with other stakeholders under the Criminal Justice System, through JLOS framework, to help address such concerns.
CP Fred Enanga
Public Relations Officer
Uganda Police Force
13th September 2019