The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura has ordered the force to minimise the use of tear gas and pepper spray in public order management operations.
The order followed a resolution reached by the Joint Operation Command, in which heads of all national security agencies sit.
Security chiefs are said to be concerned about the criticism police is facing on use of tear gas and excessive force in management of public order.
Deputy police spokesperson, Polly Namaye, confirmed the development, saying the police is trying to be pro-active.
“The police policy is to ensure as little engagement with the public in terms of crowd control. We will only use means such as tear gas where absolutely necessary,” Namaye says.
Police will therefore start by the use of shield men to break illegal meetings. If this fails, officers will then use water canons, followed by rubber bullets. It is after all these have failed that police will fire teargas and pepper spray.
Other resolutions which were reached by Joint Operations Command include using only one officer to arrest a suspect, with the second coming in if the suspect becomes violent.
Sources say the police also plans to procure and popularize the use of handcuffs for every police personnel, to reduce the use of unnecessary force in implementing arrests.
A reliable source in the police Directorate of Logistics has however informed us that police tear gas and pepper spray stock expired in 2013 and no other consignment has been procured since.
The decision, according to the source, could also be informed by the fact that the force wants to avoid using expired stock.
The teargas which is still in stock was reportedly procured in 2011 during the walk to work demonstration and has continued to be used.