The Uganda Police Force's handling of suspects in Kampala Metropolitan area : a case study of Kampala District
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Uganda Police Force is mandated to protect life and property, preserve law and order, detect and prevent crime. However, the police have gained notoriety as the perpetrators of human rights violations through the torture of suspects in their custody. This study was set to examine the Uganda Police Force’s handling of suspects and why torture is still a problem in the handling of suspects. It aimed at establishing the kind of suspects UPF handled in the Kampala Metropolitan area, identified how suspects are generally handled during and after arrest, established why police officers resort to the torture of suspects, and found out ways the UPF could improve its role in the protection and promotion of the right to freedom from torture of suspects. The study predominantly employed a qualitative approach. It consisted of a sample of 93 participants who were selected using random, convenience, and purposive sampling techniques. The study employed a qualitative data collection method of interviews backed up by a review of secondary data. The study employed content analysis where themes and sub-themes were developed in line with study objectives. Key findings revealed that the area of study being the capital city of the country with the highest social, economic and political activities registers a wide range of crime suspects including thieves, robbers, rapists, defilers, gangs, politically violent, domestically violent among others. Findings indicated that criminals suspected of theft, robbery, murder, and political crimes were tortured more than any other category. Police handling of suspects was found to be flawed right from investigations, arrests, processing, and case closure with incidences of torture rampant. The major underlying factors for persistent torture included the need to extract confessions, extortion, corruption, and lack of political will to end it. It was also established that although anti-torture mechanisms had been instituted, its implementation was significantly flawed. The study recommends that the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in particular should allow independent mechanisms to pray oversight function, effective implementation of Ant torture mechanism which will allow allegations of torture to be promptly, impartially, and effectively investigated, the establishment of control mechanisms that can help identify areas of potential risk and propose possible safeguards. Most importantly UPF should let claims of torture and errant police officers be charged in mainstream courts of law as a deterrent measure as opposed to police disciplinary courts.