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    • More efficient system of internal control is necessary for the fight against corruption in the police

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    • Date: 15 April 2014
      Management of human resources, changing the Law on Police, the creation of a professional police service and strengthening the sector of internal control are the measures which should be undertaken in order to reduce the risk of corruption in the police, it was concluded during panel discussions held on 14 and 15 April in Brus, Prokuplje and Nis.

      According to researches of public opinion, police is in third place in corruption, immediately upon justice and health, it was pointed out during the discussions which BCSP organized with partner organizations gathered in the A-COP group.

      As main reasons for this state BCSP researcher Sasa Djordjevic pointed out the ineffective system of internal control, a high level of politicization of the police and the lack of a system of management of human resources.

      "During 2011 and 2012 around 10,000 people were employed in the Ministry of Interior without defined criteria. The data of the progress in the police are confidential - not only for citizens but also for police officers. One of the main challenges of the new government will be to establish an effective mechanisms of internal control in the police. In the sector of internal control work only 80 people, which is not enough to control a system which employs about 24,000 officers. In addition, they do not have the independence in work and minister can stopp or transfer any case", said Djordjevic.

      Cases of law violations in Brus and Prokuplje

      Nenad Miljkovic from the Info Center Brus presented a case of the employee in the police station Brus Miroljub Milicevic, who was charged with bribery in 2002. Milicevic, as a traffic policeman stopped a vehicle that did not stop. It turned out that it was a cigarette smuggler, who then reported Milicevic for receiving bribes. Miljkovic said that after conducting the trial and the proceedings in the Supreme Court Miroljub Milicevic was acquitted of charges of bribery, but that, regardless of the verdict he was not returned to work.

      "To avoid the appearance of such examples in the future and for successful fight against corruption it is necessary that corruption cases come to the public", said Miljkovic during the discussion held on April 14 at the Cultural Center in Brus.

      One of the biggest problems in Prokuplje is related to the field of public procurements, it was pointed out during the discussion held at the National Library Rade Drainac on April 14. Dragan Dobrašinović from Toplica Center for Democracy and Human Rights said that in Prokuplje continuously the same company get jobs. He presented two examples of which the first relates to the construction of the landfill and the other on the decontamination of old asbestos factory.

      "For the construction of landfill EU donated 13.5 million euros and the contractor did not begin the works. The money disappeared and the investigation was delayed. In the case of asbestos factory, it was signed a contract for decontamination and for two decontamination work the same company was chosen. All potential competitors were deterred by setting unrealistic purchase price of documentation. In these cases there were no criminal charges by the police. If there was initiated an investigation, it was soon abandoned. There is a dangerous and destructive climate in a society where anyone who get hold of a little power can do whatever they want", said Dobrašinović.

      The case from Nis: incidents in Gendarmerie

      During the panel discussion held on April 15 at the Media Centre in Nis, Milan Stefanovic from the Center for Civil Society Development PROTECTA pointed out that most of the corruption cases in Nis are related to the criminal work of the Gendarmerie.

      "All incidents that occurred are showing the inability of the state and omissions in the selection, internal control and psychological assessment of candidates. We have a situation in which criminals protect us from criminals. These cases must be processed as soon as possible so that citizens will not be afraid and in order to returned their trust in this elite unit. Any criminal with a badge needs to be prosecuted and removed from the streets, because these people do not keep the safety of citizens", said Stefanovic.

      Jovana Strahinić from Southern News presented the case of a corrupt police officer in Nis. She pointed out that for the crime of falsification of official documents he was conducted on probation while for grave breach of official duty he never responded. In addition, the officer is still working in the same position which is contrary to the Law on Police.

      "This particular case indicates on the existence of problems of a systemic nature. In the majority of cases of forgery of official documents was pronounced only probation. In 90% of cases of disciplinary proceedings in Nis has found that there is no violation. This proves that in the system something is wrong", said Strahinić.

      The organizers of the panel discussion are: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), Novi Sad School of Journalism, Toplica Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Info Center Brus, South News, Protecta, Bečej Youth Union and the Society against corruption. Panel discussions on corruption in police will continue from 28 to 30 April in Majdanpek, Zrenjanin and Becej.

      Organization of panel discussions is supported by: the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Civil Society Forward Program managed by Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) within the project “Partnership for Integrity in Security Sector in Serbia” and the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia and the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society of the Government of Serbia within the project "A-COP: Civil Society Against Corruption in Police" through the program "Supporting Civil Society 2011-2013". 
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