Do the Police learn from their mistakes?
On 10 May the results were presented of the nationwide monitoring campaign “Police under Scrutiny» which began this year on 31 March in 12 oblasts after a pilot run in November last year. The campaign is being run by the Association of Ukrainian Association of Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement which prepared the guidelines for public monitoring, as well as carried out training sessions for NGO activists and journalists. Several hundred activists from around the country have taken part in the monitoring and due to their energy and activeness, the monitoring has become ongoing.
Throughout April over 200 people took part in monitoring activities in different regions, checking the level of professionalism of patrol officers, access and quality of the local police stations, etc.
During Thursday’s press conference the participants highlighted the typical infringements found during the monitoring.
The most widespread infringement among patrol officers was unwarranted checks of people’s documents and unlawfully looking through their things. Such cases were seen in half of the cases where patrol officers were monitored.
In about 40% of the cases, when talking to the monitors, the officers did not give their name or position and rank, as required by law.
In a third of the cases the officers were unfriendly or took a biased attitude to the person they were talking to. This was especially true in the Donetsk and Poltava oblasts where monitors were actually threatened.
Petro Hryban from the Association of Monitors and himself a retired police colonel, stressed the need for such cases to be highlighted.
Mykhailo Kamenyev from the Regional Initiatives Foundation recounted how, on the last day of his monitoring in Kyiv, he tried to video unlawful behaviour by the patrol officers. For that he was detained without any grounds and taken to the Pechersky District Police Station. Colleagues acted swiftly and he was soon released since they realized they were in breach of the law. He points out that not everybody is aware that this is in breach of the law. He notes also that since officers often don’t give their names, etc, it can be difficult to register a complaint. In other countries this problem is resolved with patrol officers having badges on their clothes with their numbers on them.
Yury Belousov from the Association said that an important result of the monitoring had been specifically the reaction of the Ministry of the Interior management, as well as its departments in the regions. Reports are to be sent to both the central and regional management. He noted though that their previous recommendations about installing ramps in a number of police stations had not been carried out, however in most cases the complaints books had become available without needing to overcome the resistance of the officer on duty.
The reports in Ukrainian are available here: