The ‘notorious’ Uganda Police Flying Squad Unit has returned, almost four years after disbandment, The Tower Post reports.
The news of the unit’s redeployment was revealed by Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga during their weekly security briefing at Naguru Police Headquarters on Monday morning.
“We want to inform the public that our Flying Squad Unit is back from training. They have been redeployed in the traditional districts of Uganda and along major routes to support the territorial teams,” Enanga said.
“Their deployment is intelligence-driven,” he added.
Flying squad, having been formed in 2012 was disbanded by Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola in May 2018.
Ochola ordered all operatives of the unit to report to CIID headquarters from where they would be redeployed to other duties.
“All Flying Squad personnel are directed to report to CID headquarters for further instructions,” Ochola wrote in a message to all Police Units.
Their then commander ACP Herbert Muhangi would be transferred from CIID and to general duties and appointed as the head of Manpower and audit department under the Human Resource Administration Directorate.
The Flying Squad Unit was then replaced with the Organised Crime Unit which was headed by SSP Mark Paul Odong.
How was the Flying Squad Formed?
The Police Flying Squad Unit was formed in 2012 under the reign of former Inspector General of Police Edward Kale Kayihura to replace the Rapid Response Unit – RRU as an emergency response to high crime rates in Kampala and its suburbs.
The unit had been formed to deal with high profile crimes including those armed robberies, kidnaps, vehicle robberies and murders among others.
They unit was headquartered at the Kampala Police Station and Nalufenya where they planned and executed most of their operations.
Despite their good achievements, the unit relied mostly on unprofessional operatives and former criminals to carry out their operations which dusted its reputation as time went on.
Members of the unit would start being cited in armed robberies, murders, dirty deals within the city while the unit itself was accused of torturing suspects and extorting money from them.
Disbanding the Unit.
IGP Ochola first disbanded the Flying Squad unit in his third month as IGP after taking over office from Gen Kale Kayihura in March 2018.
At the time, the unit under the leadership of the assistant commissioner of police, Herbert Muhangi had become infamous and was part of the failures registered by the Police Force then.
But Ochola reversed his decision on the advice of the Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) on the vital role Flying Squad was playing in dealing with gun-related violence.
He ordered all the personnel that were under Flying Squad during ACP Muhangi’s leadership to report to Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) headquarters at Kibuli.
Thereafter CID director Grace Akullo was tasked to screen all the operatives and only remain with those who did not have a bad service record.
At the end of the screening, the numbers were reduced from 130 to 80 operatives.
The unit served under the CIID with a limited budget but according to reports, they continued to deliver good results although using tough and unprofessional means.
CID records for 2018 show that the Flying Squad handled a total of 67 cases with 75 arrests recovering 12 guns and 167 rounds of ammunition.
In 2019, Flying Squad handled a total of 181 cases compared to 67 cases handled in 2018.
In 2020, according to CID, Flying Squad that was under the command of SSP Godwin Turamye, handled a total of 183 cases compared to 181 cases handled in 2019.
The unit further recovered 23 firearms, 342 ammunition bullets, 67 Stolen/robbed motor vehicles and 43 motorcycles in 2020.
But due to pressure from the public about the ways that the unit conducted itself and the methods it employed in its operations, it was disbanded again in August 2021.