Head of patrol police Lieutenant Maksym Yermakov (left) presents Petr Pojman with the a ceremonial certificate for the lecture to the patrol police
Now there is quite a lively debate on interaction between the population and the police as a factor of crime prevention in society. The National Police of Ukraine even presented the Community Policing project on improving the communication process between the police and educational institutions.
What is Community Policing for?
First of all, it is a sign of openness of the judicial system. Through communication and collaboration with locals that previously report on violations and the police are able to respond effectively. In turn, the police must address local needs determined by the community itself. If this work is carried out systematically, the policemen will succeed in time to prevent crimes, forming that way a high level of trust from the citizens.
Kherson did not remain aloof from this trend. From May 30 to June 2, the city hosted the first 5 day phase of the international training program for the patrol police. The headliner of the event is lectures by Petr Pojman, the representative of Prague Security Studies Institute, who told employees of the new Ukrainian police about European experience of combating organized crime and corruption, shared best practices of cooperation with community.
The European experience of proactive partnership with citizens
Petr described such a case: in the UK members of national minorities are encouraged to work in the police. For example, the Roma guy from the Czech Republic moved to the United Kingdom, was educated and now works as a constable. He is a conductor in the local community. Who is able to find a common language with the local Romani people, as he is well aware of their problems.
Another example is the introduction of police in schools. If closely interact with children, it is possible to obtain information about drug and human trafficking, even terrorist attacks. Such systematic work with the community provides good results and has a very strong preventive effect.
Our police are also not lagging behind. To prevent children from being afraid of the police and get them trust the people wearing a uniform since an early age, children are allowed to be photographed with the police, even encourage this. They say that the police should first and foremost help, that the policemen are always polite, helpful. And the most important is that to be in the field of view of the police means to feel maximum security, get expert advice and assistance.
Photos from the Patrol Police of Kherson on Facebook
Encouraging creative approaches
The problem of drink-drivers is worldwide. In the Czech Republic they came up with a way of rewarding those who are living according to the rules, for example, sober drivers are presented with non-alcoholic beer. That is, the police use in their work not only punishment, but also the promotion of law-abiding citizens.
We were struck by an initiative, when special maps are developed, where dangerous places for cars, with recorded cases of vandalism, theft or other irregularities are indicated.
Often victims of fraud are the elderly people. Especially during the currency exchange, most often – when converting Czech Koruna into Euro. The police can’t wart everyone, so they train active older adults, how not to become victims fraud schemes, so they pass the information gained to other old people. By the way, such education on the principles of peer-to-peer is funded by AVON. This is a very good example of crime prevention.
Victories and setbacks in the fight against corruption
The issue of corruption proved to be difficult. There is no corruption in the Czech police. The character test is introduced in the country, according to which a policeman loses his or her job if caught in violation. There are also various methods of testing police officers for the conscientious attitude to their work. For example, someone is specifically allowed to break the rules of the road. When a police officer stops such a person, he or she hints about the possibility to resolve the dispute out of courts. If the patrol officer agrees and refers to the amount, he loses the position. Not always law enforcement officers know that this is a test. Thus, it was possible to reduce corruption to a minimum.
It is a more complicated situation with corruption at the political level. This is when to high positions they appoint incompetent, but "convenient", people who are easy to manage for lobbying their interests. According to Petr, "poor criminals break the laws, and the rich ones write them." The word "lobbyist" in the Czech Republic has a negative connotation, because it means political immorality. The good news in this situation is that many political groups are competing with each other, that is, no monopoly on lobbying yet.
The most pressing issues
Kherson police asked many questions: about work conditions, wages and the protection of police officers, their terms of reference. What are consequences of the use of firearms? Or how often in the Czech Republic, in the country where every sane citizen has the right to the possession of firearms do crimes with the use of weapons occur?
Also our police admitted that they can’t solve all social problems on their own. Then it dealt with the Broken windows theory. Petr Pojman drew attention to the unfinished constructions in the city centre, which are turning into the landfill and provoked the audience into the discussion. Of course, the solution to many problems is beyond the competence of the patrol police. But the Czech experience shows that it is important to take the initiative to think outside the box and work together with activists, city officials, state officials. If there is devastation, it is steadily spreading, and vice versa: where problems are solved, they tend to be solved in the future.
These discussions prompted the leadership of the Kherson police officers and the team of IRC "Legal space" at the end of June to gather round table and invite representatives of various NGOs to discuss urgent problems and needs of the population. In order to know which NGOs to contact for the solution of certain problems, such as stray dogs, domestic violence. Initiative groups that will include community activists, police officers, representatives of government and local authoritie should work on the solution of these issues.
In the end participants came to the conclusion that such experience exchange between the police of different countries is urgently needed. It would be very helpful if the European coaches and trainers came to us, and our guys went to other countries for best practices. Also their police could come to us. As Petr said, it is not good to "stew in your own juice". We need to know about our neighbors’ achievements. Each country has its own interesting methods of cooperation between police and society and some of them can be adapted to our conditions.
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