By David Deng Chapath, Kampala, Uganda
March 12, 2017 (SSB) —- Some time back I wrote an article attacking those who were campaigning for the post of Inspector General of Police (IGP). In that Article I pointed that the Police office is not a political office but it is an office established based on training and skills. Because of that I concluded that politicizing the police as it was happening would be disastrous to the integrity hence negatively affects the effectiveness of the police force.
However, someone from Western Lakes attacked me directly thinking that I was criticizing the one from Western Lakes who was campaigning for the IGP office. Therefore, this article is in response to such an unjustified attack by telling that person that I was not protecting the IGP post but my aim was to protect the integrity of the police force.
Thus, the reason I wanted to protect police integrity and ethics is that they are fundamental to effective policing and help build trust within communities and are only achieved through training and practice in policing. Because of that sound conduct by police improves community interactions, enhances communication, and promotes shared responsibility for addressing crime and disorder.
For that reason and as it has been noted, the major role of the police department is to repair and strengthen community relationships by understanding and training officers on three key areas and concepts: procedural justice, bias reduction, and racial reconciliation. If these are implemented, then, they can create an environment in which effective partnerships between the police and citizens can flourish.
In relation to the above, it is also important to point out that a police force with integrity is one with little or no misconduct or corruption. Police force that places priorities in the areas such as –accountability of managers and supervisors; equal treatment for all members of the organization; citizen accessibility to the department; inspections and audits and quality education for employees will do better at maintaining integrity.
The reason integrity in the Police Force is important is that it defines values and principles and incorporates them into every facet of operations, which may be more important than hiring decisions. Hence, it is important to point out that diligence in detecting and addressing misconduct will show that officers or managers practice what they preach. This is only possible where there is integrity in the police force.
Having explained the importance of integrity in policing, it is important to respond the person who criticizes me by telling him that the General Inspector of Police Office is not up for grab through political lobbying. Rather, it is the post given according to the capacity of the police office.
The clear example is that of the Former IGP, General Makur Marol. Makur is known for his competence when it comes to the administration of the police. This is because he is qualified and understands the importance of police ethics and integrity.
Integrity being one of the cardinal principles in policing, it means that the police should not be run on political principles which encourages deceits, dishonesty and lies. Hence, what those from Western Lakes who criticized and attacked me when I was talking about the fact that the police post of the IGP should not be turned into political post by the person I was criticizing are that—
First of all, the post of the IGP is not solely for former Lakes State but it is opened to all South Sudanese competent police officers, hence the people of Western Lakes should not take my criticism as if I was attacking their son since what I was attacking is the danger of turning the police into political game hence destroying the integrity of the police.
This is because the IGP is directly responsible for the maintenance of the police ethics and integrity by upholding the code of conduct. However, if the Police are allowed to be politicized as it was being done by that particular police officer who was campaigning for the Office of the IGP, then the integrity of the police will be destroyed.
Second to it, the People of Western Lakes who criticized me must know that the police post like any other government posts does not belong to the community but to all South Sudan citizens who are capable. For that reason, those people of Western Lakes who criticize me must know that the IGP post belongs to the community and should not therefore be considered as a contest between Gok State and Western Lakes so that when a person from Gok State is seen making some comments, then it is taken as if they are the ones being attacked or criticized.
In summary, as Robert Peel pointed out that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence, hence the police must be free from all kind of politics and community interference must be minimized.
NB//: the author is South Sudanese student residing in Uganda and can be reached through: firstname.lastname@example.org
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