Uganda: Over 60,000 crimes reported to police but not investigated
At least 63,481 criminal cases, which is 32 per cent of the total volume of crime registered in 2020, were not investigated despite the police having enough evidence to prosecute suspects.
Among the cases that the police did not inquire about include 850 cases in which people were unlawfully killed in 2020, 3,331 defilement cases and 335 rape cases, the Annual Crime and Traffic Safety report of 2020 shows.
The director of Criminal Investigations Directorate, Ms Grace Akullo, told Daily Monitor yesterday that they are facing challenges of victims losing interest in cases in the middle of investigation or trial.
Ms Akullo said witnesses and complainants pull out of the cases after they have negotiated with the suspects, which puts a burden on the police to get evidence that would sustain the cases in court.
Although the report shows the volume of crimes dropped by 8.9 per cent in 2020 from 215,000 to 195,000 cases, the police performance in regards to the criminal cases they received in the same period shows that there was a reduction.
Another 75,000 cases registered in the same period were still under inquiry by the end of December, 2020.
Criminal cases that the police took to court also reduced to 56,000 cases, which is nearly 20,000 cases less compared to their performance in 2019.
Ms Akullo attributed the poor performance last year to the coronavirus restrictions that made it difficult for their officers and witnesses to operate.
“Of 195,931 cases reported to police in 2020, 56,651 cases were taken to court. This is attributed to where cases are reported and suspects are not identified, not arrested or suspects are abroad waiting for extradition or deportation,” Ms Akullo said.
Even the case files that the police sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) reduced to 85,000 from 100,000 in the previous year.
Ms Akullo said there was a delay of expert reports to help the DPP to form opinion.
“Some of our detectives could not reach the witnesses because of challenges of transport. Most witnesses had to travel by public means, which were under lockdown last year,” she said.
However, the State was able to reduce the number of dismissal cases from 11,000 to 3,700.
The State was only able to secure nine per cent convictions of the total cases registered in the same period.
The director of Criminal Investigations Directorate, Ms Grace Akullo, said funding gaps and shortage of manpower within the police and their partners in the criminal justice system are some of the major challenges hindering their abilities to have better results.
“The current strength of CID personnel is only 5,292 instead of the approved 19,843, leading to work overload. The UN standard is 1:12 cases per detective per year. The current workload stands at 45 case files per detective. In areas with high crime rate like Kampala Metropolitan policing areas, detectives have between 50 and 70 case files per year,” she said.
She said 73 courts don’t have full-time prosecutors to handle cases they send to the DPP.