The new KCSS report represents a useful tool for advocating advancements in organizational performance, internal governance and strengthening integrity within the Kosovo Police.
By Marija Ignjatijević (BCSP) / Photo: Xhemail Sllovinja
The Kosovo Police have been the most trusted institutions among Kosovar citizens in the past five years. However, these results do not necessarily reflect the situation in practice. There is still a lot that needs to be improved in order to achieve an adequate level of integrity and efficient internal governance, it was concluded in a recently published report by the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS).
The existing legal framework is sufficiently developed to enable continuous strengthening of integrity. However, there are still various obstacles which inhibit full implementation in practice.
Gender equality, age distribution, and retirement of policemen, as well as the lack of health insurance, can be identified as the main challenges that need further addressing, when it comes to human resource management.
There is a large discrepancy in gender representation within this institution, considering the fact that women comprise only 13% of the Kosovo Police. Police employees are among the oldest, in comparison to other institutions. The Government has not included health and life insurance for police officers in the national budget even though the existing legislation envisages it. This is why the KCSS suggests the adoption of a law on early retirement and allocation of budget resources, so as to ensure health and life insurance for policemen and balance the age distribution in the police.
The absence of the integrity plan, as a tool for the development of institutional integrity which should serve as a corruption preventive measure is one of the main challenges of the police internal control. Moreover, internal control mechanisms need to reinforce professional capacities, whereas the Kosovo Police Inspectorate needs to conduct integrity testing consistently and provide a higher level of transparency, the KCSS proposed.
The political interference and the lack of Independence in decision making of the police have been noticed through an analysis of practical cases, namely, the suspension of officers in Prizren and incidents during the opposition protests in November 2015. Hence, the Kosovo Police should consider the recommendations of national and international mechanisms concerning these particular cases and the autonomy of this institution should be increased (i.e. avoiding any sort of external interference).
Transparency in the work of the police is on a satisfactory level. Still, accessibility of certain unclassified information has been hindered and bureaucratized. Therefore, the KCSS recommends enhanced communication of the police with the public, exhaustive annual reports and an improved, easily accessible website. Similarly, financial transparency of the police needs to be ensured, specifically in the area of public procurement.
Parliamentary oversight of the Kosovo Police is quite inefficient. The work and dynamics of the Parliamentary Committee has been victim of the political crisis in the country from mid-2014 to the first four months. As a result, committee members from the opposition did not take part in most of the meetings particularly during 2015 and the first half of 2016.
The KCSS report was created as a result of the monitoring the integrity of the Kosovo Police, within a specific time frame, beginning in 2015 and ending in March 2016. It aims to reveal the current state of integrity in these institutions and assess whether the process of strengthening integrity had advanced in the preceding period.