I do not regret any decision I made this year as the Head of the National Police of Ukraine
Ihor KLymenko, The Head of the National Police of Ukraine, Police General of the second rank, PhD (Psychology)
Today, September 25, is exactly one year since I was appointed the Head of the National Police of Ukraine. When I am asked how it went, I answer with a smile: "In different ways." Because this period was really rich, complex and unpredictable. But definitely interesting.
In my first interview I outlined the main problem areas I planned to focus on. These included improving the response to reports, domestic violence, combating street drug trafficking and generally deepening interaction between the police units.
The year passed quickly, but productively. We did realized a lot of what was planned. For example, an updated system for responding to reports and notifications has been launched. Receiving of messages is not only by phone, but also by e-mail or mobile application, which are automatically registered. The information is immediately passed to the dispatcher and the duty officers to organize the response. All duty police squads are displayed on an electronic map, and feedback is maintained with the applicant.
This feedback is especially important when reporting domestic violence. And these calls are no longer serviced by the usual duty police squad, but by one of the 45 mobile groups for combating domestic violence, which work in every region of our state. These are police officers with special knowledge and skills. The number of appeals with this problem can indicate the effectiveness of the police. Since the beginning of 2020, 139 thousand of such reports have been registered, and for the same period last year - a little more than 91 thousand. That is, citizens began to turn more often to the police for protection from domestic violence. From a closed "household" issue it became public. And, thus, this problem is gaining publicity. And the more they talk about it, the more people will understand that there is no place for violence at home and that it is abnormal.
I wrote separately about the fight against drug trafficking in a blog article. And I really consider it one of the priorities in the police work, which is confirmed by the results of special operations conducted by the relevant unit. Since the beginning of this year, police have seized more than 2.6 million doses of drugs worth more than 300 million hryvnias. These are doses that never reached the consumer. The goal is the fundamental elimination of all drug business pyramids.
"Thieves in law." This was probably one of the loudest draft laws. Many did not believe that they would vote for him, we felt strong opposition. But thanks to the support of the majority of people's deputies, it was finally possible to introduce the concepts of "a thief in law" and "criminal influence" into the Criminal Code of Ukraine, defining the appropriate punishments for such activities. Among our other voted initiatives is the strengthening of responsibility for vehicle theft. The criminals will not be able to let go with mere fines anymore. Only restriction of freedom or imprisonment.
At the same time, this year was marked by the humanization of the criminal law - many articles of the Criminal Code fell into the category of criminal misdemeanors. The structure of the National Police includes newly created pre-trial inquiry units. Since July 1, the inquiry officers have received about 200,000 criminal proceedings, which have become misdemeanors, which is more than 50% of the total number of the registered criminal proceedings. Thanks to this, it became possible to unload the investigators, who focused on solving serious and especially serious crimes.
Unfortunately, there were some shameful stories involving the police officers. The most notorious was violence in the Kaharlyk police unit. My reaction to this dishonest and inadmissible act was publicly visible: we immediately handed over all the materials we collected to the State Bureau of Investigations and condemned the actions of the former law enforcement officers. To prevent this we are currently actively implementing a common monitoring system that will oversee the observance of human rights by police officers. It will combine video recording in police custody centres, police units and chest body cameras video into a single complex.
Thus, the "Custody Records" information subsystem has already started operating in the National Police. It provides an opportunity to create a single electronic file of a person under police control and to record all actions referring the detainees. Equipping the police premises with video recording equipment is a clear positive for both parties. On the one hand, it will help to prevent police misconduct towards detainees or visitors of police units. And at the same time, it will protect law enforcement officers from unfounded accusations and provocations.
But the most unexpected test during my office was the conditions, in which we all have been living and working for more than six months. The coronavirus pandemic has not only made adjustments to our daily habits, but has significantly added to the work of the police. We have faced new challenges and have become an integral part of the team that has to overcome them.
There are still many plans, they need to be implemented. But analyzing the first year in this position, I can already say with confidence: I do not regret any of my decisions. They were all balanced and necessary.
Ahead of us is a major restructuring. We are working on creating a new structure of the National Police and will present it in the nearest future. These changes are needed in the context of the ongoing decentralization reform in the country and to improve the efficiency of local policing. All changes are needed only for one purpose: to make people see that the police are always around and let them feel safe every day.