Uganda: Jinja to Get National Call Centre

Police will set up a national call centre in Jinja District for easy crime detection and response.

Under the new arrangement, the public will be able to call a direct police toll free number in case they want to report any crime, the Kiira Regional Police Commander, Mr Dauda Hiriga Were, told Daily Monitor in an interview on Wednesday.

Mr Were said the department of Information Technology of police visited the region and confirmed that it will be one of the national call centres meant to decongest 999 and 112 helplines.

"Previously, when someone called on those numbers, the call first went to Kampala which then called a police station in whose jurisdiction the crime was taking place," he said.

He was, however, non-committal on how much the project would cost and where the funds were coming from.

Mr Were explained that Ssezibwa Region that covers the districts of Kayunga, Buvuma and Buikwe and all other districts in Busoga Sub-region are going to be connected to the call centre.

"What is now going to happen, is that once someone calls using the police toll free numbers in the aforementioned regions, they are going to be received in Jinja District," Mr Hiriga said.

"This call centre is also unique in a way that it is connected to Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at the monitoring command centres where more than 52 cameras have been installed," he added.

He further noted that the idea of housing the call centre in the same facility as the CCTV cameras' command centre, is to enable the officers to easily detect and locate where an incident is happening.

However, the Kiira Region Police Spokesperson, Mr Abbey Ngako, noted that many of the cameras which were installed in various parts of the town and trading centres are not functional due to lack of some equipment that was supposed to be imported from China and are in their final stages of delivery.

The new consignment, he further explained, will consist of more cameras that will be installed in various areas that have been mapped out as 'dark spots' by security agencies.

"We are also going to enter into private partnership with individuals who have CCTV cameras in their homes, hotels and workplaces, beginning with Jinja Central Market, to ease in the cracking down criminals," he said

He added that they have already assessed the cameras in Jinja Central Market and observed that they lack servicing, while their operator is not being paid a monthly salary.

The Jinja Municipal Council Spokesperson, Mr Rajab Kitto, said, "Since Jinja Central Market was constructed, it has 32 cameras which are in a sorry state due to lack of funds for maintenance," Mr Kitto said.

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