Female Police Officers Decry Unsuitable Uniforms, Sanitation Facilities

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Female police officers have decried the continued use of unsuitable uniforms, poor accommodation, and sanitation facilities provided for them by the force.

Some of the officers who spoke to Uganda Radio Network say that the facilities are unhygienic and not friendly, especially for women. Another female police officer said most of the toilets have broken down and can no longer be flushed, yet they are used by hundreds of people, including, among others, the policemen, their families, and civilians. Police estimate that its stations in Kampala attend to over 500 people every day.

“I have worked at Katwe and CPS. But I can tell you that most of the toilets are no longer ‘flushable’. You have to carry water if you’re to use them. They are always dirty because they are the same used by civilians,” a female police Sgt said.

Police stations such as Katwe and CPS often have dozens of people coming to report cases, those who are following up on their impounded cars and motorcycles as well those following on their arrested relatives.

Another policewoman said the uniforms they get are in most cases too big. This, she said makes them incur costs on re-sewing them so that they can fit them. “You pick a uniform and you realize it is too big for you. Even when they take our measurements before sewing, they still come out when they are too big. I spend at least 10,000 shillings re-tailoring my uniforms,” a female Police Constable said.

During the Uganda Police Force –UPF Women conference held on February 21, 2020, policewomen demanded to have special pockets where they can put their staff as opposed to keeping them in pockets which becomes bulgy and shabby. Police’s Chief Political Commissar –CPC Asan Kasingye, then said that there was a proposal to design special policewomen uniforms. 

Rose Nahyuha, who is also the acting Commissioner for Women Affairs, told URN that the proposal is still being followed even though she is not aware when it will materialize. Nahyuha acknowledges that policewomen demand uniforms specifically tailored for women. Nahyuha explains that women have a special body shape and their uniforms need a special touch of the female blend as compared to where someone has to readjust.

“The proposal for special female police uniforms is still on. It is being handled by the uniform committee. There was also a suggestion for a special uniform for pregnant mothers. In general, policewomen want uniforms specifically tailored for women and not general,” Nahyuha said.

Not only uniforms and sanitation issues are making policewomen feel uncomfortable but also lack of good accommodation facilities and lack of baby care centres. A number of policewomen said they squeeze themselves in hats or temporary structure built by their partners who are also policemen.

Nahyuha adds that there is a negative attitude from their male colleagues. She says there are male officers who have a belief that they don’t want to be led by a woman. Sometimes they don’t pay attention to instructions.

Nahyuha says policewomen face difficulties to work with their babies and end up depriving children their right to breastfeed by leaving them at home at a tender age. She adds that baby care centres according to the pending plan will be established in KMP before spreading to other regions.