The department of Child Protection in the Uganda police force has Thursday opened a juvenile center at jinja Road Police Station where children criminals will be locked up.
The cell which according to police costed Shs26 million was funded by Biyinzika Poultry in partnership with Balimwezo Community Foundation of the Nakawa division Mayor Ronald Balimwezo.
According to police, the new cell can house up to 20 inmates and has been constructed to the standards of any detention facility.
While commissioning the facility, SSP Atuhairwe Moreen in charge of Child Protection at the police headquarters said that the new center will help in addressing the issues of child crimes, Kifeesi gang and lawlessness especially in Kampala.
She attributed the increasing level of child criminals to neglect by parents to their children.
“We have discovered that child neglect due to domestic violence leaves the children traumatized and engage in crime,” she said.
She also said that a big percentage of children arrested in crime are due to lack of counseling, guidance urging parents to take extra time and care with their children.
The RPC Kampala East, Mike Musani also revealed that at least 70 percent of crimes registered in his region are committed by children below 18 years and police have been having challenges to detain them, but with the acquisition of the center, it will enable police to intensify operations on young criminals.
He pointed out that hardcore criminals have resorted to using children since the law is weak and police had no juvenile cells to detain young mobsters.
“The law does not regard them so the hardcore gangs recruit young children,” Musani added.
Police says that children especially in urban areas and slums particularly have resorted to taking drugs and abuse of other narcotics which lead them into criminal acts.
The recent crime report indicates that 2467 crimes were committed by children in 2017 compared to 1576 crimes in 2016, indicating a rise in juvenile cases.
They included defilement at 141 cases, theft cases at 967, assault 144 cases and robbery 324.
Statistics also attributed the raising child cases to the 16 percent increase in domestic violence crimes across the country.