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Collection of policy papers on police reform in Serbia, Number 9


This collection contains three policy studies on police reform issues: on psychological support to police officers, human rights in police education and organized crime, produced by Belgrade-based civil society researchers, supported by the OSCE Mission in Serbia


Psychological support to police officers

Insufficient attention has been paid to the mental health of the police officers in Serbia. This topic is usually discussed after the incidents in which police officers commit suicide or a crime, which brings into focus all issues related to the lack of psychological support for police officers. There is even less discussion about the role of police managers in stress management and prevention. Police managers rarely notice psychological changes in their employees, while the police officers who have problems do not wish to seek psychological support and professional help. Moreover, some managers are not familiar with the existing system of psychological support in the MoI. Consequently, the effectiveness of the whole system of psychological support for police officers is questionable. The aim of this paper is to encourage discussion on the importance of improving the provision of professional psychological assistance to the police officers in Serbia and on the role of managers in supporting police personnel in their work.

National capacity, international and regional cooperation in combating organised crime

A lot has been done to date in the field of fight against organised crime. A legal and regulatory framework has been built; organisations and institutions that should fight against organised crime have been established and the intense international and regional cooperation on this issue has begun. The latest amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code include, inter alia, changes to special evidentiary actions, primarily related to organised crime, which, although itemised in the previous Criminal Procedure Code, are now specified in a much clearer and more articulate way. Since 2002, in the short period of time, a number of international conventions have been ratified, a series of laws have been adopted and many institutions have been established, either fully or partially aimed at combating organised crime. This paper analyses the normative legal framework for combating organised crime and the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code related to organised crime in the Republic of Serbia. The paper aims to analyse the work of public authorities in the Republic of Serbia, responsible for combating organised crime, and their regional and international cooperation, and to provide guidelines.

Human rights and police - The role of police training and education

Professional policing based on respect for human rights is an essential foundation for the legitimacy and efficiency of the police. Only the police that are able to ensure the rights and freedoms of citizens deserve the trust and respect of the public. The key to a relationship of trust between the police and citizens lies in respecting human rights, which is impossible without having a good knowledge about them. Occasional human rights violations by police officers are clear indicators of the need for improving training in human rights at all levels of police education. Education on human rights must not be left to chance anywhere, particularly in the countries where the observance of human rights is not at the highest level, but it must be appropriately supported and systemic. As part of their formal education, all prospective police personnel should acquire relevant knowledge in the field of human rights, which they will translate into skills and apply in their daily work; they will also acquire a positive attitude towards the concept of respect for human rights and their necessity. Taking into account the role of police officers in the protection of human rights, human rights should be a key element in the professional development of each police officer. This paper seeks to stress the importance of education and training in the field of human rights and to highlight that familiarity with human rights issues facilitates a proper transfer and application of skills, knowledge and attitudes in everyday activities. This paper also highlights the importance of police training and describes the position of human rights in the system of police education in the Republic of Serbia, through the overview of human rights education within the Ministry of Interior, which is based on the examination of the curricula of police educational institutions and available teaching materials; the administration of a short questionnaire, which was designed with the aim of finding out the students’ attitude about the level of knowledge related to human rights acquired during schooling; a comparative overview of the practice of human rights education in the police force of the Republic of Slovenia and the overview of important and useful international documents that recommend the ways and obligations of police training on human rights.