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Makerere’s College of Education to offer soft skills training to Police officers

The College of Education and External Studies (CEES) is to start equipping Uganda Police Force (UPF) officers with soft skills. The training will be conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Badru Musisi and Dr. Joyce Bukirwa Rebecca. The project; Promoting Community Policing by Integrating Soft-skills in Uganda Police Training Programs, is funded by the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (RIF).

The project seeks to augment Community Policing by integrating Soft Skills in Uganda Police Force training programs.

While UPF is rated among the best forces in the region, the same cannot be said about its image.The discrepancy between the force’s performance and the way it is perceived by the public is due to the widening social-distance between UPF and the community it needs to collaborate with.

The Principal Investigator of the project, Dr. Badru Musisi, attributed this to the officers’ limited display of soft-skill policing.

“Yet, a professional blend of hard and soft skill policing is the cornerstone for effective Community Policing,” he emphasized.

Dr. Musisi was speaking during the launch of the project on November 30th at Nican Hotel in Lweza. The stakeholder engagement was attended by various commissioners of police, directors, prisons officers, military officers, private security firms, legal officers, religious leaders, civil society, boda boda and Taxi operators among others.

It is hoped that the blend of soft and hard skills will enable UPF to collaboratively work with communities to keep Uganda safe and secure.

The research team intends to design a transformative, scalable and context specific framework to guide the police in its training and conduct.

Speaking during the opening of the meeting, the Director of Training, AIGP Golooba Godfrey Kiwanuka, thanked Makerere University for partnering with the Uganda Police Force to contribute to its professionalisaiton, saying learning is a process that never ends.

He thanked the university for its continued support to the force especially through the various short trainings offered as well as the masters training the university offers to UPF.

The project hopes to achieve some milestones in getting the police officers to use intra and inter-personal attributes such as:

Cope with stress and manage stressful situations

Relate with people, think critically and creatively;

Use emotional intelligence to solve problems;

Demonstrate good judgement, keep an open mind;

Control one’s impulse, display empathy/compassion

Resolve conflict; de-escalate tense situations;

Use effective verbal and non-verbal communication.

Dr. Musisi said the project team intends to integrate Soft-skills in UPF training programs because owing to concerns for officer safety, police training curricula emphasize hard skills such as physical control tactics and weapons more than soft skills such as de-escalation skills and behavioral science.

He also noted that the power dynamics in police training schools in a way is a challenge to the Community Policing culture because in training schools, the tradition is that the powerless (police cadets), have to submit without question to the authority of the powerful (training staff). Failure to comply is punished by verbal abuse or physical punishment and yet the same cadets are expected to treat the powerless wanainchi in the community with dignity and respect.

“So, integrating empathy, compassion, impulse control etc., in police training programs can help to pacify the young Police officers,” Dr. Musisi emphasized.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

Determine the Soft Skills gaps in UPF training programs;

Develop a catalog of the needed Soft Skills by benchmarking domestic and foreign police soft-skilling programs;

Design a transformative, scalable and context-specific framework for embedding Soft Skills in UPF training programs;

Train UPF trainers to integrate Soft Skills in police training programs using the framework designed.

PROJECT TEAM

Dr. Badru Musisi (PI)

Prof. F.M. Masagazi (CO-PI)

Dr. Joyce Bukirwa

Dr. Kasozi Ferdinand

Dr. Allen Nalugwa

Hajat. Nuliyati Nabiwande

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