In the frame of Community Policing Program, Police Development Department (PDD) has identified the need to establish “Local Prevention Councils” (hereafter LPC) with the participation of key local stakeholders with the task to tackle, from a multi disciplinary point of view, the problems that the citizens face and, therefore, to improve the level of life in the community.
Following the events of 2001 that ended with the Ohrid agreement, the International Community and especially OSCE was tasked to provide proposals and methods of policing with the aim of enhancing normal relations between police and citizens. Taking into consideration the context and the unstable situation, the principle of Citizens Advisory Groups was launched in 2002 focusing on the West and the North at first, then extended in 2004 to the whole country. Although this approach has been considered as efficient at the beginning and remains probably a key factor of success, it has shown some limitations because of the lack of formal structures and no obligations for the persons in charge of carrying out these tasks. The last survey on the matter conducted in 2006 confirms that only 29% of the population and 52% of the police believe that citizens know about Community Policing and Citizens Advisory Groups, being 13% of the citizens that do not know about it at all. It is not satisfactory. Fortunately, the Self Government Law and the Law on Police are now providing a legal frame to go further and achieve the implementation of the structures capable to boost the concept of Community Policing that the country tries to define.
During this period of time, lack of coordination among the different institution at local level has been detected so that a synthesis of foreign systems to solve that problem has been tailored by OSCE PDD considering the particularities of the Host Country. Among several “tools” it is recommended to set-up within the municipalities a “Local Prevention Council” as the most suitable method no only for institutionalizing Community Policing practices, but also for confidence building and promotion of partnership. Several countries in the world have adopted similar structures successfully.
In order to provide a basic structure to design local policy and build a network of resources in the municipality, the LPC is considered as a suitable platform to enhance mutual understanding, coordination among the local institution as well as it will facilitate the access of the citizens to the decision making process.
In this regard, the Law on Self-Government and the Law on Police provide the legal framework needed to establish this Body. The Mission has received as well the agreement of both the Government of the Host Country and ZELS (Association of Mayors in the country) that are eager to see the initiative functioning.
The present project foresees the establishment of a LPC pilot experience in the Municipality of Karpos (Skopje). Besides, a Press Conference will be organised in order to promote the LPC initiative. Furthermore; PDD will organise two conferences in order to instruct the Commanders of Police Stations and Mayors on LPC and Community Policing principles. Community Police Adviser (CPA) will assist local authorities to set up LPCs countrywide.
Foreign experiences have shown that very often the implementation failed because of a weakness in the local organisation and a lack of clear responsibility, such as:
With the aim of improving local safety, the local prevention council will target key issues such as: