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The police reform: results, problem, challenges

Criminal justice

Yevhen Krapyvin, the expert of CPLR, commented on the results of the five-year police reform for The New York Times

Photo by The New York Times

Undoubtedly, the establishment of the patrol police was a successful move in 2015-2016. Today, when more than 5 years have passed, you can see a qualitative difference between the patrol police and other police units, and people treat them much better – we see it is the polls and researches.

The only problem is that the area of responsibility of the patrol police – public safety – is only part of the work of the police.

The biggest problems are concentrated in the criminal «block» (investigators, operatives, inquirists) – on the one hand, the police react sluggishly to reports of a crime and, in general, wide-spreaded crimes are not investigated well enough. On the other hand, human rights violations (torture, illegal arrests, etc.) are still present in this system. Therefore, people simply do not turn to police investigators, and if they do, they are dissatisfied. They are also afraid of being subjected to illegal activities, so do not want to have and contact with police.

Consequently, starting the police reform in 2015 with the patrol police was the right step – to take a separate area that is most visible through constant street patrols and show that the system can change quickly.

But this happened only with the patrol police, other units underwent a slight update. Especially the criminal «block» is changing slowly and there are still a lot of complaints against it.

Unfortunately, Ukrainian politicians haven’t had enough will to finish the reform and shifted to other issues, like creation a new highly specialized Law Enforcement Agencies, like anti-corruption.

So the patrol police have proven themselves well, work efficiently, the level of corruption has dropped to a minimum, there is more order on the road, etc. But if you look at the system as a whole, it is weakly felt because people still feel at risk of becoming a victim of crime and that the police will not help.

It is also worth noting that today in the conditions of war in Ukraine, it was the patrol police that provided the defense forces of Ukraine with high-quality personnel who are well motivated, physically prepared and have experience in responding to crisis situations. Although they are not professional soldiers, they are a very valuable link in the special operations forces. If there was no police reform and creation of the patrol police, it would hardly be possible so today.

To read the full text from The New York Times, follow the link.

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