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Patrol police is looking for partners
Participants analyze public problems in groups. Photo by Anna Martyniuk, IRC "Legal Space"
Participants analyze public problems in groups.

In Kherson two actions were held, which didn't cause a special resonance in the city, but are absolutely unique not only for Kherson, but also for Ukraine. Uniqueness of these "round tables" is that they were not held from on high, but at the initiative of new Kherson patrol police that wants to unite their opportunities with those of public activists.

As one of the organizers of the meeting, human rights activist and coordinator of Legal Space website Anna Martyniuk tells, friendship between Kherson community members and the new police force began a year ago when the policemen were trained. Anna taught them “Human Rights. The rule of law. Constitutionalism”. And told how, for example, to obtain free online legal aid. Her colleague Olga Zhukova lectured on the activities of NGOs, what they do, what problems can be solved together with them.

“It happened so that of the teachers I'm the only one who shared with the police my personal contacts (email and mobile number)”, said Anna Martyniuk. “When on February 8 they came out to patrol the streets of the city, they immediately started calling, asking where they could “attach” a homeless man. He is getting cold, begging to arrest him and put behind bars. But he had not done anything criminal! We have no shelter for the homeless, so I started to call friends to help. Churches were often eaget to help, gave warm clothes, meal”.

Also the police calls about stray dogs. There is an organization that deals with them. But the shelter is already full.

A lot of questions on domestic violence arise. Anna Martyniuk with her colleagues requested statistics for the city. Only within six months due to family scandals the police was called more than 3 thousand times! And you've got to understand what the patrol authority is. They come, take the violent owner, bring to the police department. In an hour he is home again. And the victim is again with him one-on-one...

First the human rights activist was looking for and passed to the patrol contacts of organizations and associations that could help in such situation. This work was expanded to include other public figures. So, gradually, the urgent care directory was created. But the book is not a homeless shelter, not a shelter for victims of domestic violence. The patrol police do not solve these problems. The idea emerged to gather the police staff and community activists at one table.

“In some cities reform of the police started early and such meetings were held there”, said Anna Martyniuk. "We just broke in one of them to learn how collaboration in other regions is getting better, what problems are solved. Addressed to colleagues from Kamenetz-Podolsk, and they agreed to take our delegation at their own expense. Our team included an officer Alexandra Chebukina and Evgeny Ostransky. Our employees are quite different. The people serve mainly who have had nothing to do with the law enforcement officers before. In Kamyanets-Podilsky these are former police officers who passed recertification. And when they came to the hall, they looked like clamped, frowning. It was tough to establish contact with them”.

A meeting in Kherson took place in a very different format. None of these round tables are funded, but the leadership of the patrol police provided facilities and activists brought what they could: paper, tea-coffee-biscuits. Along with the patrol they chose the most important issues, analyzed their resources and specified directions of activities - shelter for the homeless, traffic safety, domestic violence, natural trade, human trafficking, low level of legal culture of citizens.

And yet, many people simply do not know how the patrol police work. For example, even Anna Martyniuk learned a lot during the round tables. It turned out, the members of the Red Cross in its initiative conducted extra classes to the patrol police on how to render first aid. how to do CPR. And thanks to these skills one of the patrolmen saved a young girl’s life prior to arrival of the ambulance.

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