Banchuk О. Decentralization of the powers of the public administration bodies in the field of law enforcement: the experience of the countries of Eastern Europe
The article is dedicated to researching the process of decentralization of powers of public administration bodies in the sphere of law enforcement in the Eastern European states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia).
The author analyzed the legislation of the European countries regarding the powers of local self-government in the area of ensuring the public order, as well as the activities of local police.
The draft Law on Police and Police Activity № 1692-1 was registered in 2015 in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. It provided the functioning of the local police as an executive body of the local councils, which would be formed in each community (art. 6). Local police were supposed to consist of the service of district inspectors and patrol service.
But local police are no longer mentioned in the new Law of Ukraine on National Police.
Instead, the Parliament awaits the adoption in the second reading of another draft law “On Municipal Guard” № 2890, which proposes to create not local police, but other units of the law enforcement (municipal guards) in the communities.
The article finds that Eastern European countries are divided into two types: those that created the local police and those that established local public order institutions. The main distinguishing features of these law enforcement divisions are their legal status, tasks, powers and level of state control and supervision (police and ministries of internal affairs).
The main tasks of local units of ensuring public order (regardless of their legal status) are:
1) participation in maintenance of public order;
2) prevention of crimes and other violations of laws;
3) protection of municipal property;
4) control over observance by citizens of the requirements of local self-government;
5) assistance to the national (state) police and other state bodies in the implementation of their authority to ensure public order in the territory of the community.
At the same time, in each state, local law enforcement divisions, in addition to the above, fulfil specific tasks.
The activities of the local police units in Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are characterized by a large amount of tasks and powers in relations with citizens, compared with the status of other local law enforcement institutions in Lithuania and Estonia. However, giving greater authority means increasing the control and oversight authority of the state authorities for the activities of local police in the sphere of recruiting policemen, appointing and dismissing the leadership, and periodic reporting on the results of work.
Poland has specific experience, where local police are not created, but the level of state control over the activity of community guards is similar to countries where local police is operating.
Key words: local police, local law enforcement institution, local self-government, protection of public order.