Banchuk O. A.

Banchuk O. A. Activity of National police of Ukraine: transparency and accountability to society

An article is dedicated to researching the Law of Ukraine “On National Police”, which implements some new instruments of monitoring of police activities and provides for its transparency and accountability.

An author analyzed OSCE and foreign countries’ documents containing the most important standards of police accountability.

In 2008 OSCE Guidebook on Democratic Policing submission, acceptance of outside control and verification, open-mindedness for such verification are defined as the distinctive feature of democratic police offices (para. 84).

New instruments of policy accountability introduced by the Law include:

  • submitting of reports by heads of police departments;
  • estimation of trust level enjoyed by police;
  • expression of non-confidence to police’s highest officers;
  • police commissions;
  • a possibility for representatives of public society to participate at disciplinary proceedings of police officers.

Article 86 of the Law provides that two main ways of informing society about police activity are regular releasing of data to public and annual reports on police activity.

The next innovation of the Law worth mentioning is the attempt to change a way of assessing the police activity. Article 11 establishes that the main criteria of police bodies efficiency assessment is the level of society’s trust to police.

A procedure of expression non-confidence is provided by the Article 87 of the Law. The precondition for it is the ‘assessment of police body activity on a territory’ (part 1).

Permanent police commissions with mandatory participation of public society representatives shall become one of the most important elements of raising the police activity transparency. Part 1 of the Article 51 of the Law establishes that the task of the commissions is to assure the transparent selection (competition) and promotion of police officers.

The main powers of the police commissions are: 

  • preliminary selection of pretendents for police service;
  • holding a competition for naming to a vacant post.

The Law defines two kinds of the police commissions – the commission of the central body’s apparats and the commissions of police’s territorial bodies.

However issues of disciplinary responsibility of police officers and public control in this sphere are left beyond the scope of the new Law. Article 90 of the Law stipulates only civic engagement to considering complaints about police officer’s actions or their inactivity. But mechanisms of public engagement are not specified.

The article determines a number of the other problems of the Law and its implementation, which means that the Law does not correspond to the European standards and therefore needs further legislative amendments.

Keywords: police, police commissions, priorities of the police activity, report about the police activity, non-confidence resolution to high command of police, disciplinary proceedings.

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