152 police raids in Montenegro is not enough to resolve growing conflict of organized crime groups. The focus should be on intercepting the flows of money.

The security situation in Montenegro is more than worrying. 28 out of 35 gang-related murders since 2012 remain unsolved, according to the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network and Radio Free Europe.

However, murders are only the visible part of the gangland war that is happening in the underground in Montenegro.

“They are the most obvious consequence of many other illegal actions taking place in the background”, warned Dina Bajramspahić of the Institute Alternative in a conversation with daily Vijesti.

Montenegrin police have not arrested any high-profile criminals due to date, although raids were conducted on 152 locations as part of the police activities of the “Boka” Operational Headquarters in the past 6 months.

Recent cases of murder in Podgorica demonstrate that the expectations were not fulfilled.

The National Security Council (NSC) concluded that the state of security is violated due to the growing conflicts of organized crime groups, which “Boka” was formed to solve.

The NSC requested the formation of specialized teams made up of representatives of the prosecution, the police and other bodies, which heads of the competent state bodies approved.

New special teams were formed “with the task of fighting organized crime more effectively”.

The Bureau for Operational Coordination of Security Services is in charge of providing and monitoring the implementation of activities.

Bajramspahić questioned the need to create new special teams, which already exist, at the height of the “clan” war in Montenegro.

“There is not a single word on what the problem with the existing special team is, or how the existing ad hoc mixed investigative teams function. The legislation already allowed this possibility even without the NSC’s initiative. Therefore, this proposal seems to be intentionally grabbing the attention of the public in the election campaign and giving the illusion that something is being done”, concluded Bajramspahić.

Unofficial sources in the police told to daily Vijesti that they believe the situation in the security sector related to the suppression of criminality cannot be corrected soon by any special teams because the sector responsible to fight organized crime is “in shambles” and not coordinating well.

Although Institute Alternative has repeatedly stated that it is good that the police are acting more actively and exerting pressure on criminal groups by more frequent searches, seizure of arms and narcotics.

Nevertheless, crucial is to initiate financial investigations and to interrupt the flows of money that finance illegal activities.

“As long as there is no progress in that area, criminal groups will consolidate and attract new members, so there is no point in hoping that the war will end by itself”, Bajramspahić warned.

The NSC responds to this with short-term solutions that have no effect because they are not based on a fundamental analysis of the problems that state authorities are facing when it comes to organized crime.

Bajramspahić stressed that this is just buying time and the problem is delayed for the future.

The Ministry of Interior personnel policy with frequent shifts and constant rotation of the same staff without a serious analysis of the problems is an example of a bad strategy that buys time.

Bajramspahić expressed hope that the new police leadership will be appointed with a detailed explanation and based on the merits that will be publicly announced.

By: Olga Boškov (BCSP)

TAGS: Human ResourcesMontenegroOrganized CrimePolicy Opinion