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    • Fighting corruption in police, military and relevant services will increase integrity of security institutions

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    • Date: 25 April 2014
      Journalists from six national and seven local and regional media participated in the training organized by Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCSP) held on April 24-25, aiming to teach them how to do research on corruption in police, military and security services

      Journalists, participants of the training together with the BCSP organizational team
      Journalists, participants of the training together with the BCSP organizational team

      The dialogue on the role of institutions, media, and citizens in fighting corruption started at the training held in the library of BCSP. After the training, journalists will publish articles, TV, and radio reports in their media- Blic, Danas, Istinomer, Juzne vesti, Kurir, Novosadska televizija, Politika, TV Kopernikus, Radio Novi Sad, Radio Kosovska Mitrovica, RTV Lav Uzice, RTV Novi Pazar and RTV Presevo.

      President of the BCSP Executive Board Miroslav Hadzic, emphasized that corruption in Serbia is a way of living and it represents not only the indicator, but also the element of economic crisis. He stressed that corruption is often simplified to what is most obvious and visible, usually bribe.

      “Corruption is influence on redistribution of power, ie authority. When talking about corruption, we are talking about vicious circle. Everything is connected. No matter which point in the system you take as a starting point, you will run into corruption. In Serbia, corruption is spread everywhere,  and any ad hoc political action would give only modest results. Corruption should be fought from both sides at the same time - from the top, and from the bottom, from citizens level”, said professor Hadzic.

      Corruption risks in the police

      BCSP researcher Sasa Djordjevic said that in the police, there is a blue wall of silence, meaning that police officers are not willing to report a corrupted colleague. Since there is no law on whistle blower protection, fighting corruption in police is hindered. He stressed this as one of the key risks on corruption in police human resource management, finance management, operational work and internal and external control.

      “There is no system of vacancies advertising in the MOI, and criteria on professional advancement are not known to public nor to employees. Researches show that citizens, but police officer also, consider that hiring in the MOI is done mostly through political or family connections. Besides that, there are no strictly defined activities that are incompatible with police work, which also is a source of corruption in police. On the other hand, sector of internal control does not have the authorization to control all the employees in the MOI”, said Djordjevic.

      Corruption risks in the MOI are not visible to citizens, but very harmful, are emergencies and are classified public procurements, said Head of Internal Affairs Sector Milos Oparnica. He stressed that important actors in fighting corruption in police are organizational units where the MOI employees work, internal auditors, as well as citizens and media.

      Representatives of Internal Affairs Sector and Traffic police department speak about the risks of corruption in the Ministry of Interior
      Representatives of Internal Affairs Sector and Traffic police department speak about the risks of corruption in the Ministry of Interior

      “Public procurement corruption should be investigated from the very start of the process in order to find the insiders who could bring us to evidences. The problem is that citizens who report that they gave a bribe is not automatically abolished, but it depends on the prosecutor, whether they will be treated as a perpetrator or as a witness. Only three out of ten citizens captured giving a bribe to a police officer were ready to testify, based on the fact that they do not trust the judiciary. Rewarding police officers, usually in an improper manner, is not recognized as a corruption. The solution can not be in a repression, but in influence through creating ethics  and integrity plans. If there is a procedure, there is no voluntarism. If there is no voluntarism, there is no corruption”, concluded  Oparnica.

      Bosko Lukic, from the Directorate of Traffic Police, announced the installation of video surveillance at Corridor 10 at all control places, as an anticorruption measure. He said that factors that impact the occurrence of corruption are relationship of citizens towards control, unfavorable judicial practice, vague legal framework and inefficient control.

      “Most of drivers are ready to make a deal. They do not see sanction as a prevention. Judicial processes on corruption are too long, and often times, sentences are minimal or even the verdict results in acquittal. Some of the reasons for inefficient control are weak technical equipment, lack of knowledge of propositions, lack of experience among heads, and weak coordination within the Ministry. Measures planned to be implemented in the next period are : further education, making a plan of integrity, improving the special control, technical equipment, harmonization of laws and bylaws and improvement of methodology of work”, said Lukic.

      Discussion on risks of corruption in military and security services
      Discussion on risks of corruption in military and security services
      Corruption risks in the military and in security services

      BCSP research team presented to journalists main risks of corruption in the military and security services. Panelists emphasized that security services work under high degree of confidentiality, which leaves a lot of space for discretion, and decreases possibility for control system. Defense system is specific by its size and complexity, which is an obstacle for control.

      “Improving, assessing and deployment to peace missions are the greatest risks on corruption in human resource management in defense systems. Human resource management in security service is defined by Rulebooks, but in reality, it is significantly different. The best example are changes of head peoples after the elections”, said BCSP researcher Katarina Djokic.

      The second major issue in corruption of the defense system are public procurements. Procurements for defense and security are mostly confidential because of national interest, so they are mostly done without obeying legal procedures. Even though there is a new law on this topic, most of the procurements in the defense system are still done according to the old law.

      “One of the most relevant problems is the fact that it is enough for someone in the Ministry of Defense to decide that in that case it is a classified procurement, and it will be done without obeying legal procedures. When it comes to security services, it is enough to say that 95% of procurements in the SIA (Security Information Agency) are labeled as classified”, said BCSP researcher Vladimir Erceg.

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