The inspector general of police Martins Okoth Ochola has directed the Criminal Investigations Directorate to probe allegations of extortion by police surgeons. The directive follows public outcry on reports that victims of crime are asked to pay before they are examined by surgeons.
The reports indicate that assault victims are often charged Shs 20,000 while persons with rape complaints are directed to specific clinics where they pay between Shs 30,000 and Shs 100,000 for an examination, which is ideally supposed to be conducted at no cost.
The medical examination is done to provide evidence that can be used by investigators to verify the type of sexual assault that occurred, support statements by the victims and sometimes, identify perpetrators, especially in cases involving sexual abuse. It is a key piece of evidence for cases that end up in courts of law.
There are also accusations that often, the police surgeon asks for payment from victims in order to appear in court as a witness, to support the authenticity of the examination. The absence of the examination and the failure by the surgeon to appear in the court implies that victims cannot have access to the criminal justice system.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga says that Ochola has now directed the CIID boss Grace Akullo to establish the authenticity of the reports and ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
Enanga urged people who have been charged any amount of money in order to be examined by police surgeons to avail information to police, adding that it is unfair to charge a victim of any crime for a service that should be provided free of charge.
Last year the IGP banned the selling of police medical forms but the media a few months ago reported that victims were still being charged for the same at a cost of Shs 1,000 to Shs 2,000. Police records of 2018 show more than 15,000 cases of assault were recorded while a similar number was received in sexual offenses such as defilement, rape and sexual harassment.
According to the police director of medical services Moses Byaruhanga, every surgeon whether in the police force, private and public health facilities is paid Shs 50,000 for postmortem examinations, defilement and rape cases whereas Shs 25,000 is paid for examining assault cases
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