The working group for the preparation of the new Law on Internal Affairs in Montenegro is rolling back to the old solutions.
The most important improvement of the Montenegrin Draft Law on Internal Affairs is that it introduces the fifth-degree education requirement, meaning completed Police Academy, for candidates in order to be employed by the Police, the Institute Alternative (IA) evaluated.
Dina Bajramspahić, the IA representative in the working group for the preparation of the law, said that the proposal is not finished yet that the working group is still in session.
Although the working group has been working hard during the two years in which it held more than thirty meetings, many unspecified solutions still remain.
“We are now discussing the possible rolling back to the old solutions. This is especially problematic for the field of human resource management in the police”, said Bajramspahić to the MINA Agency.
According to Bajramspahić, the most important improvement of the Law is that it requires the fifth-degree education for candidates who want to enter the force.
“Last week we saw that there are even problems with personnel that came from the Police Academy and who underwent an intensive two-year police training program. Having this in mind, it is clear how many problems we can expect from people with fourth-degree education and a three-month police training”, Bajramspahić said.
This solution is insufficient due to the fact that the Police in Montenegro already have four and a half thousand police officers in the service.
“A good system of monitoring has to be implemented for the current police officers, performance evaluations, additional training, opportunities for merit-based promotion, all of which still does not exist”, Bajramspahić emphasized.
Both the Ministry of Interior and the Police show high resistance to the system moving from the absolute freedom of discretionary decision-making when appointing managers in the Police, to building a result, and merit-based system.
“In this regard, it is especially important that the law mandates internal open calls for police managing positions so that all good candidates could have the opportunity to apply and show interest in filling in the most responsible workplaces”, Bajramspahić said.
This was not only the recommendation of the IA but also the recommendation of all five experts who worked with the working group, Bajramspahić explained.
There is also a problem of the procedure of dismissal of managers that are not prescribed adequately – it is not connected with the performance assessments and the criteria for dismissal, so a manager can be dismissed at any time.
“On the other hand, since there are no criteria, the lack of these provisions allows even those who are not competent to come to the leading positions. A fresh example of this problem is the announcement of Lješković returning to the helm of the SAU (Special Anti-terrorist Unit)”, said Bajramspahić.
Although security checks of police officers have been regularly implemented so far, they are being regulated by the Law for the first time now. Bajramspahić explained that until now security checks were only used for the first-time employees.
“However, security checks should also be performed on already employed police officers, as new job applicants have not yet had so many opportunities to make severe mistakes as those who are already working in the police”, said Bajramspahić.
She said that she hoped that these provisions would not be removed and that the Ministry of Interior and the Police would demonstrate its resolve to prevent those who are not worthy of police badges to stay in the force.
“We criticized the intention to abolish Disciplinary Commission within the Ministry and the transfer of responsibility to the state Disciplinary Commission which is in charge of tens of thousands of state and local officials. The current version of the law does not improve the oversight of the Police significantly, which is in practice completely ineffective”, Bajramspahić said.
She also hopes that the working group will not give up on the intent to separate police jobs and police titles and on the solution that would prohibit temporary employment practice, which is the explicit recommendation of many experts.
The analysis was originally published on internet portal Vijesti.
Translation: Vladimir Erceg (BCSP)
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