Uganda: Police - Why We Lowered Recruitment Qualifications

Kampala — Police have lowered the academic qualifications for recruitment of constables from Advanced Uganda Certificate of Education (A-level) down to Ordinary Level Certificate (Senior Four) in order to maximise retention and fight indiscipline.

Starting next week, police will recruit at least 4,000 constables and 500 learner assistant inspectors of police (AIPs) countrywide. The minimum education requirement for AIPs is a diploma in information technology, nursing and forensic sciences.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the lowering of academic qualifications for constables was informed by a study done by the police's Directorate of Human Resource Development.

"The study found out that constables with Senior Six academic certificates were a bit low on productivity and also use the police as a springboard to other careers," Mr Enanga said yesterday.

Past experience

Police management have been facing pressure for better deployment and promotion from constables, especially those who upgrade and obtain degrees.

The recruits with A-level certificates have also been demanding better standards of service and many often desert or seek early retirement, thus leaving the Force depleted.

Mr Enanga said the study also found that recruits with Ordinary Level qualification have more passion compared to their counterparts with A-level.

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into corruption in the Uganda Police Force report released in May 2000 recommended raising the minimum education level of constables from O-level to A-level.

"With regard to recruitment, the commission found that the minimum qualification of O-level is no longer sufficient and this was exemplified inter alia by the poor calibre of officers who could hardly speak English during the proceedings," the commission report reads in part.

The commission led by Justice Julia Sebutinde also "noted numerous examples of case files where statements were poorly recorded due to low level of English proficiency of the officers concerned."

To improve the quality of police officers, the commission recommended that not more than 500 should be recruited in a year.

However, this year's recruitment numbers are nine times those that were recommended by the Commission.

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