INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE PASSES OUT 184 TOURISM POLICE OFFICERS
Uganda’s Inspector General of Police, Lt. General Kale Kayihura, last Friday passed out 184 specially trained police officers as staff of Uganda’s Tourism Police. Drawn from across the ranks of the Uganda Police Force, the officers had both applied and were selected for their skills and experience on the force and underwent an intensive 1 month course at the national police school in Kabalye / Masindi. Course content included tourism laws, regulations and policy, customer care and guest relations, understanding hospitality but also specially targeted techniques like security procedures and concepts, hostage rescue procedures, operational planning and weapons training. Staff from the Uganda Tourist Board and the Uganda Wildlife Authority were among those who delivered lectures and interacted with the officers during their month long training to instill a greater understanding to them how the sector works and interacts with the country’s economy and society at large.
Lt. General Kayihura on the occasion of graduating the course participants said: ‘It is important to develop [a] Tourism Police to counter the threat of terrorists who might target them (tourists) when they are here’.
The Uganda Government had created the tourism police concept three years ago but to the disappointment of the tourism industry and key stakeholders it took still until now before tangible results could be seen.
The officers will be deployed immediately to key tourism attractions, places of interest regularly visited by tourists but also to key hotels in the city of Kampala in order to boost existing surveillance and monitoring capacity.
The national police chief also announced on the occasion that a new dedicated anti terrorism training school will be set up in the district of Kanungu, which borders the key Bwindi Gorilla National Park and extends to the border with the Congo DR, where land has been secured for that purpose.
Tourism stakeholders were swift to extend praise to the government for providing specialist training for these 184 police officers while expressing hope that more such courses would now be conducted in order to boost numbers and allow deployment across the entire country to all areas and sites of importance to the tourism industry.