Uganda Police Force

The police force in Uganda is a national body which falls under control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and is lead by the Inspector General of Police. The Uganda Police Force (UPF) is composed of: the regular Uganda Police Force; the Uganda Police Reserve; special constables; and any other person appointed as a member in terms of the Police Act of 1994.

The vision of the Uganda Police Force (UPF) is to provide a police force that is efficient and accountable to the people it serves, and its mission is to secure the lives and property of people who live in Uganda in a professional manner.

Accordingly, the functions of the UPF include the following:

  • to maintain security within Uganda;
  • to enforce the laws of Uganda;
  • to ensure public safety and order;
  • to prevent and detect crime in the society;
  • subject to section 9, to perform the services of a military force; and
  • to perform any other functions assigned to it under the Police Act.

Oversight Mechanisms

Oversight of the police is conducted both internally and externally, with internal disciplinary procedures conducted by way of disciplinary courts, a police complaints system, as well as a human rights and complaints desk which receives and attempts to resolve complaints involving allegations of abuse by police officials. In addition, there is a Police Authority as well as a Police Council, which are statutory bodies mandated to monitor the activities of the UPF throughout the country. The functions of the Police Authority are provided for in terms of the Police Act and include advising government on policy matters relating to the management, development and administration of the UPF, and to hear and determine the decisions of the Police Council.

Similarly, the functions of the Police Council are also provided for in terms of the Police Act, which includes the following:

  • to recruit, appoint and promote police officers up to the rank of inspector of police;
  • to exercise disciplinary control over all police officers through the police courts;
  • to advise the police authority on the ranks structure in the force;
  • to formulate terms and conditions of service of members of the force subject to approval by the police authority;
  • to formulate and establish standards of recruitment and training within the force;
  • to determine the types and quality of equipment and supplies to be procured by the force;
  • to formulate and advise the police authority on the policies of the force and ensure the implementation of that policy;
  • to ensure efficient organisation and administration of the force; and
  • to ensure that the force is of a national character and composition.


Another mechanism of external oversight is the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), which is mandated to investigate human rights abuses, conduct inspections of places of detention, and to make recommendations to Parliament on victim compensation and human rights related matters. In addition, the UHRC has the powers of the court and includes a judge from the Uganda High Court in its organisation. In this regard, the UHRC has been commended for conducting effective external oversight of the police, which has included surprise station visits, and reductions in the number of police-related incidents of abuse and disappearance.

Further, a number organisations have been involved in issues relating to the police, including the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), HURINET-Uganda, and Human Rights Focus, which have played a significant role in strengthening mechanisms of oversight.

  1. Uganda Police Act, Section 9.
  2. Uganda Police Act, Section 10.
  3. African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (2008) An Audit of Police Oversight in Africa: Uganda, p 74.
  4. African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (2008) An Audit of Police Oversight in Africa: Tanzania, p 70.
Country Category Year Title URL
Uganda General 2013 Policing and Human Rights; Time for real change in Uganda Source
Uganda General 2013 Uganda Police is Rotten to the Core Source
Uganda Conference and Workshop Reports 2012 Uganda’s Police is up for a new Challenge: To handcuff Corruption Source
Uganda Research Publication 2012 Uganda; Justice for Serious Crimes before National Courts; Uganda’s International Crimes Division Source (PDF)
Uganda General 1994 Uganda: Police Act of 1994 Source (PDF)