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Male cops illegally guard female suspects in cells

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, October 29, 2020

Police Spokesperson Maj.-Gen. Daniel Justin | File Photo

The national police spokesperson has admitted that they often allow male officers to guard female detainees at night.

This comes amidst allegations that two police officers molested young girls in Maridi police cell over the week.

The issue raised concerns why female inmates are guarded by male officers.

According to Maj.-Gen Daniel Justin, female police guards are often replaced by their male colleagues during night shifts.

“The law says all of us are police officers and we are to work for the police day and night. But in some cases, there are excuses whereby we allow the female police officers to work only during the day,” he told Eye Radio on Thursday.

According to the National Police Service Act, 2009, every police personnel shall be considered to be on call for 24 hours of the day and shall reside in the station of his or her designated post, unless under certain circumstances agreed upon by the officer in charge.

On 22 October 2020, a corporal and a private in the police force were charged with sexually abusing underage girls under detention in Maridi.

The officers who have not been identified are between the age of 20 and 24.

The Inspector of Police in Maridi County said the incident occurred during the midnight hours.

This angered some members of the public, who voiced their concerns over the safety of female inmates across the country.

They wondered why women under detention are guarded by male officers.

“This is a shame to the government. It is not good at all Female cell must be guarded by male officers,” said Philip Mathiang, Aweil resident.

Another citizen condemned the sexual assault on the unnamed girls, saying “Any detention facility for the female to be guarded by a male officer.”

“What happened was wrong. If this cell was guarded by a female cop, this situation would not have happened,” he asserted.

Others blamed the police administration for not paying particular attention to the vulnerability of women to “sexual predators”.

In response, the national police service spokesperson, Maj.-Gen Justin acknowledged it was a mistake:

“It’s not the police as an institution, but an individual act. They will be held accountable for what they have done.”

The Police Service Act states that any officer who intentionally commits an offence, while on duty as a guard of an accused, detained or remand person, or fails to safe-keep properties or funds entrusted thereto, shall on conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years.

They may also be fined and dismissed from the service.

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