8 May 2018

Uganda: IGP Ochola Disbands Flying Squad

Photo: The Observer
Former Flying Squad commander Herbert Muhangi

The Flying Squad, a police violent crime crack unit, has been disbanded by Inspector General of Police, Okoth-Ochola.

Its commander Herbert Muhangi has been moved to head the little known manpower audit unit inside the human resource directorate. In his message Ochola said the "transfers and appointments are ordered with immediate effect."

In the reshuffles; commissioner of police Sagal Abraham has moved from the IGP's office to Interpol. He now heads the border monitoring unit. Senior commissioner of police Elly Womanya has moved from Interpol and is now deputy director Special Investigations Unit (SIU) while D/SSP Mark Paul Odong chairs the organized crimes unit under SIU.

In March, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative urged Ochola, to clear the tainted image of the force. The activists also demanded that the new IGP disbands the notorious crime preventers, the Police Flying Squad and bring back the special investigations department to fight crime in the country.

Deputy police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the disbanded Flying Squad officers will report to CIID headquarters on May 15, for re-screening and deployment.

"We no longer have the Flying Squad department. They will be reporting to Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate (CIID) headquarters in Kampala. It has been removed like other police departments to reorganize the institution," he said.

The Police Flying Squad was created as an emergency response to high crime in the city and its suburbs. At first it was a para-military group called 'Wembley' commanded by Brig Elly Kayanja.

It later morphed into the Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU), and was renamed the Rapid Response Unit (RRU), then Special Investigations Division (SID). In 2012 it was named Flying Squad.

Since it was created in 2001, the Flying Squad has leaned on some ill-trained, unprofessional operatives to fight violent crime. Their unprofessional methods have drawn a public backlash.

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