This project would allow the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA) to inform the public of the recent reforms which have been implemented to become transparent and open to the public.
The Mission to Skopje's Police Development Department supports the Government in implementing its National Police Reform Strategy, which aims to bring policing in the country closer to international standards. PDD is supporting the Ministry of Internal Affairs‘s request under the project titled "Building a partner relation between the citizen-police" to develop their community policing efforts and in particular their efforts in becoming more transparent.
Transparency, when used in a social context, implies openness, communication and accountability. It is a metaphorical extension of the meaning a “transparent” object is one that can be seen through.
An open and transparent police organisation informs the community about its actions and responds to questions about what it is doing and the reasons why. Within the Police Service there must be a dynamic culture of accountability, which supports the principles of openness and transparency. All staff must be willing to engage in dialogue with the community in relation to policing issues and provide full and frank information about the police performance.
Transparency is more than an information sharing issue; it is a cultural issue affecting all parts of the police service. A transparent organisation does more than disclose its policies; it addresses and accounts for its thinking, actions and conduct on a day to day basis.
Information should be disseminated by the most appropriate means to reach the target audience. On some occasions it will be made available through the media and Internet, when important issues of service or public policy are involved. In many cases, where the issues are local, the use of CAGs, local newspapers, or personal meetings may be the most suitable means to make it as accessible as possible.
An open and transparent service, particularly at local level, will be a fundamental element in ensuring the success of the Community Policing policy. Communities who are enabled to access information about local policing services and who have an improved understanding of policing are more likely to engage in partnerships within their own locality.
The Mediation Training, Ombudsman, CAGs, LPCs, the newly formed IoP, the reforms undertaken by the Border Police, the encouragement of the rights of citizens in how to make a complaint and information posters on the right of citizens to complain when the police do something improper which are posted in each station are examples of how the MoI has recently reformed themselves to be more open to the public. Under this project the public would be informed of the multiple ways developed to raise a complaint against the police and the steps that are taken once an initial concern is raised.
These reforms have to be advertised to the public in an effective manner to effectively cascade the message of transparency, openness, and being a department which services the citizens. To accomplish this a one month awareness campaign would be done for the month of February. There would be a highly publicized launching of the campaign by the MoIA/OSCE. Among the activities done during the month would be thematic CAGs held by the newly appointed Inspectors of Prevention (IoP) to inform the public of the MoI’s reforms. At these thematic CAGs, citizens would be informed of the changes in the procedures by the police, i.e. Mediation Training procedures, the rights of the detained, the Ombudsman, where to complain in general and the procedures that follow once a complaint is made. The purpose is to inform the public that the police are reforming and becoming more open.
Prior to the start of the campaign the CPAs along with MoI officials will jointly develop guidance which will be cascaded to the IoPs so that there is throughout the country a clear understanding of the goals of the project. This will allow for proper explanations to the public of the reforms undertaken by the MoI. There will be an initial official ceremony at the beginning of the month to launch the campaign and to bring attention to the purpose of the project. It is forseen that MoI Upper Supervisory Staff would attend. Throughout the rest of the month thematic CAG meetings will be held with the public to make them aware of the reforms implemented by the MoI.
These thematic CAGs would also be held in minority ethnic areas to strengthen the trust and understanding of the police and the citizens. At the CAGs meeting some possible representatives in attendance would be from MoI Internal Affairs, Ombudsman and the Local Police, Station Commander, Heads of SVRs, along with the IoP. At the CAGs the IoPs can explain their role to the public.
To support the CAGs, PDD would assist in printing posters which will publicize the campaign for transparency. These posters would be prominently displayed at the municipality buildings and other public locations, such as police stations, courthouse, etc. To further this initiative printing of posters/flyers showing the rights of the citizens in the procedures for making a complaint would be done for all the police stations. These flyers on the rights of the detained would be created for the police stations to be displayed prominently in the detention areas where the arrested are held.
To inform the victims of a crime on what rights are afforded to them a flyer would be created to enhance their knowledge of their rights. These flyers would be distributed during the thematic CAG meetings and also placed in prominent areas where citizens or subjects can visible observe their rights. Posters promoting the Ombudsman would be created and be placed in visible locations such as in the lobbies of the police stations and municipal buildings.