IA proposes Measures for Enhancing the Work of the Internal Control of the Police

With the support of OSCE Mission to Montenegro, the Institute alternative has prepared an analysis „Internal Control of Police Comparative Models“ which aims at pointing out the possibilities for enhancing Montenegrin model of internal control through the study of three EU models.

Department of Internal Control of the Ministry of interior has made a step forward in terms of increasing public visibility and improving transparency of its work in 2014. Among other things, monthly reports of the work of the Department containing information on all requests for conducting internal controls, performed controls and their outcomes, are being published on the web-site of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This is highly important in order for citizen to gain confidence in the work of Internal Control and to become encouraged to report all forms of violations of the law and ethics by the police officers.

However, the Department still does not have all the necessary legal and technical prerequisites to fully exercise its power.

Among other things, the Internal Control has been denied the right to propose application of SSM to the public prosecutor and the investigation judge, in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code and statement of grounds of the request, even though the intention of the legislator was obviously to grant equal rights to the officers of Internal Control and to the police officers. Especially one should bear in mind the complexity of investigating abuse of official authority and unlawful conduct of police affairs carried out by the police officers, who possess knowledge on the manner of collecting and concealing evidence, and in addition, have professional and personal contacts with other police officers and can influence possible initiation of proceedings against them. Therefore, it is of utter most importance to correct this bad practice and to enable Internal Control to initiate application of SSM against police officers for which there is a reasonable doubt that they have committed a criminal offense. This could be achieved by adding a paragraph in the CPC which clarifies that the term „police“ applies to all authorized officers of Internal Control as well.

Another problem that we have recognized in their work is the lack of legal basis for the formal communication with the state prosecutors, which are in charge of directing and managing work of the police, in accordance with the new CPC. This allows for a situation where police officers refer to the orders of prosecutors for their actions and Internal Control has no possibility of verifying such statements. Therefore, it is necessary to amend the Law on Internal Affairs and authorize Internal Control to request information from the competent public prosecutor on the specific conduct of police officers in all stages of criminal proceedings.

The third problem refers to the need to protect communication between the Department of Internal Control and other state authorities. Since keeping the information on, for instance, Internal control requests for providing information a secret is not prescribed, there may be civil servants from other authorities (such as the Tax Administration, Property Administration, etc.) who will inform citizens and/or police officers that the Department of Internal Control requested information about them, which may interfere with the process of conducting controls. Therefore, it is necessery to amend to the Law on Internal Affairs so that it stipulates that the state authorities are required to keep secret requests for information submitted by the Department of Internal Control and to apply Data Secrecy Law and determine the „label of secrecy“ for documents relating to controls carried out by the Internal Control.

Bearing in mind the significance of parliamentary oversight of police work, it is necessary to establish a formal and regular cooperation between Internal Control and competent Security and Defense Committee by, among other things, amend to the Law on Internal Affairs so that it stipulates that the Department of Internal Control submits an annual report on their work to the Parliament.

This will contribute to the work of the Committee, but it will also strengthen integrity and professionalism of the Department by informing the body outside the Ministry on Internal Affairs on the results of their work.

Finally, it is necessary to improve administrative, human and technical capacities of the Internal Control, so it could be able to respond to the need for fighting corruption in the police and improving integrity of the police officers.

Dina Bajramspahić
Public Policy Researcher

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