#Official Commentary of Elena Melnick on reform of law enforcement sector of Ukriane
Since representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine like Soviet films, I will quote a line from a famous film called “Gentlemen of Fortune”, which can be applied to the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and can sound as follows: ʺTook up a post, had a fight with a colleague, then resignation. Romance!..ʺ
There has been another scandal recently in the Headquarters of the National Police of Zaporozhye region, in which two female patrol officers were involved. They either had an argument or they just did not see eye to eye on whose authority was higher, but it ended up verifying battery-induced injuries, hospitalization of one of the combatants and a report with the Prosecutor’s Office. Such situation is not unique in Ukraine. Crimes, which involve Ukrainian police, have become frequent in news feed.
The reform of the law enforcement system was set in motion in Ukraine a year ago. You can take stock of the Herculean efforts to renew Ukrainian police. First and foremost: Ukraine has got rid of the militia. Currently, this structure has a proud name – the police! And it has a prefix “national”, which all relevant departments or organizations have, such as, for example, the Institute of National Memory, the National Guard and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. It feels like this word not only raises the level of training of agency’s employees, but also makes their job perfect.
A full-scale reconstruction of the police had begun with an employee appraisal, recruitment of new staff and appointment of Hatii Dekanoidze, a former fellow member of Mikheil Saakashvili as the Head of the National Police. Apparently, the main point of this appraisal was to oust experienced Ukrainian law enforcement officers and employ those who were able to pass a special competitive selection. As a result, they have got rid of experienced police officers instead of cleaning up corruption in law enforcement agencies. Corrupt officials have not suffered from it, and many of them have been promoted.
Unfortunately, rosy prospects promised by the Ukrainian law enforcement reform have remained a dead letter. We can read in news how, actually, the nationalization of law enforcement system has affected increase in crime and lives of Ukrainian citizens. Obviously, the safety in the streets of Ukrainian cities is the last thing the Ukrainian police cares about. During the whole year, the new Ukrainian police have been amazing local and foreign media with their antics: fights and internal conflicts, violations of traffic regulations, including pedestrian collisions and driving under the influence of alcohol. For example, 64% of vehicle fleet has been destroyed in car accidents in Kiev – 150 of 235 official vehicles such as Toyota Prius. At the same time, the police’s guilt was established by a court in only 89 car accidents. And these are the most insignificant antics of the National Police.
Neither new specialists nor global changes in the law enforcement system, announced by Interior Minister of Ukraine Arsen Avakov, who solemnly promised to create bases, service centers and lock up all corruptors, could help to prevent crime in the country. Almost a year ago, Avakov said that the country had a high crime rate and, according to him, the situation in the law enforcement system was frustrating. The number of offences has increased by almost 30-40% since the beginning of 2016. In comparison with the same period last year, Ukraine is drowning in a sea of crime and corruption. Therefore, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have to actively look for perpetrators. Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko accuses Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov and Head of the National Police Hatii Dekanoidze. Minister of Internal Affairs Avakov blames a low standard of living of the population for collapse of the reform and so-called ‘Savchenko’s law’. Hatii Dekanoidze did not wait when criminal investigation would be launched against her and resigned not worked a year in the position.
While officials of highest governing bodies decide who is guilty and are trying to remain uninvolved, valiant police officers are dealing with their personnel issues in the most primitive way – fight. So, two female police officers made an exhibition of themselves in front of dozen of their colleagues in Zaporozhye. In comparison with a notorious recent incident in the Kiev region, where five law enforcement officers were killed in a shoot-out, this fight in the main room of the National Police Office is a mere trifle. As a brawl in a Zhitomir’s café. Especially, certified police officers had a reason – to celebrate according to the reform.
The wave of crime and chaos has literally swept the country, which is doing its utmost to join the European community. Hundreds of mentally disturbed people have returned from so-called ‘ATO’ and for whom a human life is of no value. They bring weapons, sell drugs and become regular participants of various gang warfare and they are not going to adjust to normal life. The level of Ukrainian corruption shocks both Ukrainians and Europe, which allocated funds to fight this phenomenon. While two young ladies are sorting out their relationship – they are busy to chase down former soldier who participated in the ‘ATO’ and involved in arms trafficking or those, who attack convenience stores.
However, despite the zero efficiency of law enforcement agencies, police officers have a good salary, any scandal is quickly hushed up, and the authorities, reporting on the progress, calms people down and say that they need to wait another two, three or, maybe, five years. And then, perhaps, the Ukrainian police will turn into a real one – modern, fair and reliable.
But the terrible thing is that, during this period, Ukraine can reincarnated into another Somali in the heart of Europe, where only one law exists – “Whoever has the gun is the law”.
Elena Melnick, the DPR People’s Council deputy