The images around Kibuye , Zana round about, constitution square , police officers in camouflage pointing rifles from armored vehicles at unarmed civilians has crystallized a debate over whether a decades-long flow of military-grade equipment to the nation’s police has gone too far.
The debate fits into a larger pattern: A huge upsurge of mayhem in the 1980s led to tough-on-crime measures across the country. Now, after three decades of improvements in most places, policies such as long, mandatory prison sentences police tactics are being questioned.
The use of military-style equipment by even small-town around the country is the latest tactic to come under scrutiny.
One angry city resident demanded to know why police needed a tank.
In my view, Police that seek “to justify their existence and budgets “often begin using heavy equipment for relatively routine missions such as serving warrants policing round about is “dangerous and unnecessary temptation.”
Whether you agree with me or not there is a huge gap between how we want to be policed, how the police want to police us and how we are actually policed.
“Do we really need the type of weapon they are offering?” I don’t know what you would do with that. “Lack of training and leadership can be as big a problem as excessive equipment, “If you’re not going to provide the appropriate training, you shouldn’t have the equipment.”
Armored vehicles, military uniforms, assault rifles and police dogs escalated tensions in Kampala, the equipment should be on standby, out of view, but ready to respond quickly if needed.
While I’m writing this, the tension between police and opposition is kicking off, over the last year, police has refused to acknowledge that it has a police brutality problem. The conversation about solutions between me and Media has focused on body cameras, better training or stricter use-of-force policies, along with a need for community engagement.
But a critical idea is being overlooked: increasing the numbers of women in police ranks. Women in policing make a difference a big difference. Haven’t you wondered why women police are not the ones involved in recent police shootings? After all, they are usually smaller, somewhat weaker in physical strength, and yet they don’t appear to shoot suspects as often.
In fact, studies have shown that female officers are less authoritarian in their approach to policing, less reliant on physical force and are more effective communicators. Most importantly, female officers are better at defusing potentially violent confrontations before those encounters turn deadly.
The kind of policing featured in television dramas and that overwhelmingly appeals to male recruits. In reality, 80 percent to 95 percent of police work involves nonviolent, service-related activities and interactions with people in the community to solve problems – the kind of policing that appeal to women.
The tests used in the selection and hiring of police recruits are also a problem. Based on the discredited presumption that brute strength is a key requirement for successful performance as a police officer, the vast majority of police agencies use some form of physical abilities testing in their hiring process. These tests tend to emphasize upper-body strength and disqualify some women – and men of slight stature. Yet physical strength has never been shown to predict a police officer’s effectiveness or ability to handle dangerous situations. Instead, testing should focus on an applicant’s communication skills and ability to defuse potential violence and maintain composure in situations of conflict.
For any police force to be effective in safeguarding the public, retaining public confidence is critical. This is because the public are a key source of information, and their trust and cooperation are often key to law enforcement. This idea of using out military weaponry will not work in the long term.