URN.At 20 years, Babirye enrolled into police force on September 5, 1980 passing out as a Probation Police Constable. More than 70 percent of her career was in the traffic and road safety department which is now a directorate under the command of Commissioner of Police, Lawrence Niwabiine
Last week, Robinnah Ssemakula Babirye, hang her police boots after 40 years of service.
She retired at the rank of Inspector of Police -IP, having joined the police force in 1980s. In an interview with Uganda Radio Network -URN, Babirye said she has left the force a satisfied person because she has left no file of misconduct against her name.
At 20 years, Babirye enrolled into police force on September 5, 1980, later passing out as a Probation Police Constable. More than 70 percent of her career was in the traffic and road safety department which is now a directorate under the command of Commissioner of Police, Lawrence Niwabiine.
Although Babirye lists many challenges she has endured in 40 years, she points out seeing human bodies mangled at a crash scenes as the most troublesome. One of the major accidents she picks out was in Iganga more than 15 years ago.
“There was one accident they called us to at night in Iganga,” Babirye recollects. “Some men slept underneath their lorry. Another speed truck came and knocked the lorry. Those who had slept underneath were crashed. Even those who were in another truck were also died. I collected bodies in pieces. It was a tough one. There were no facilitaties. There was no ambulance. I faced it rough as an OC of the area!”
Lack of standby ambulances and vehicles to transport police officers in case of emergencies is another challenge Babirye will leave to remember. She argues that the public blame them for arriving late at scenes but they do not understand challenges they maneuver to deliver service.
Duty transfers that antagonized her children’s education calendar is another challenge Babirye mentions. She says she never wanted to be perceived as an ever complaining police officer, so reason she would obey transfers despite the fact that they made her lose money in terms of school fees since she would often shift with the children.
“So many challenges are there but we have to persevere,” Babirye says. “You know with discipline of the police, we have to persevere. What affected me most was the transfers. Your children are in schools and you’re transferred. Children could not concentrate in one school. When the transfer comes you have to pack there and then.”
She extols the reigning Inspector General of Police –IGP Martin Okoth-Ochola, for restoring the S4 qualification for Police Constable recruits. In 2019, Ochola lowered the PC qualification from S6 to S4 after the force’s Policy Authority Committee -PAC noticed that S6 leavers would pursue university education after completing police course and afterwards desert in search for greener pastures.
“Police is going to lose us,” she now says. “We have been the most hard working police officers. We have been tolerant. We have been doing a wonderful job. We have been obedient. I think that is why police have gone back to recruiting S4s. We are patient.”
Babirye served as OC traffic in among other areas Nateete, Kawempe, CPS and Iganga.