Neither legal framework, nor the practice is satisfying enough to ensure integrity of police in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A question of police integrity in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is quite difficult to consider due to the complexity of the police system. The police sector in BiH consists of 16 police agencies at all levels of government and 6 institutions which provide them support or carry out similar activities. This fact makes any research difficult because each police agency could be considered as an individual entity and particular research could be committed for each of them.
Generally, findings of the report indicate that neither the legal framework, nor the practice is satisfying to ensure police integrity. In addition to that, the citizens assess police work as very weak and its efforts insufficient in fighting corruption. A very high influence of politicians on the police work still exists; police transparency is not satisfying when it comes to investigation of serious cases of corruption; human resources management and financing require serious reforms to be more functional in the fight against corruption; while both internal and external controls need serious changes to be more independent and functional.
The study revealed six major findings. (i) Police agencies are transparent inasmuch it does not compromise their work or interfere with investigations. However, when it comes to certain criminal offences, notably those related to corruption and implicating politicians as suspects, the public finds it rather difficult to get access to adequate information on the decisions that were made, and how they were made.
(ii) There have been some attempts of local governments aimed at depoliticization of police work, however, the influence of politics on police work still remains very strong, especially when it comes to identification and investigation of corruption and related cases. Over 80% of citizens of BiH consider that there is a pretty high influence of politics in police operational work.
(iii) Inadequate systematization and selection of personnel for admission to the police; bad practice related to vocational development and trainings; lack of professional approach in carrier advancement; and lack of integrity plans which enable control of the positions that are much vulnerable for corruption, are the main problems regarding human resource management within law enforcement agencies in BiH.
(iv) There is no “centralized” procurement for the police, and due to the number of police agencies, this creates a large space for corruption in the public procurement process. Only Agencies at the State level provide IT equipment through the Police Support Agency of BiH according to their mutual agreement. Additionally, many procurement proceedings are carried out as “classified” which, in fact, do not fall into this provision.
(v) Internal control units are not fully independent in their work, as they are part of police bodies and each head of internal control unit is nominated by the manager of the respective police body. Apart from that, most of BiH citizens have not heard about internal control in police and they are not aware of what do these units do.
(vi) External oversight over the work of the police bodies exist through several independent institutions. However, the problem is that they do not conduct direct investigations of individual cases, but only forward the case to the jurisdiction of the police institution, or if they do conduct investigations, they do not have commanding power over the police and cannot affect much to rectify the irregularities.
This report could help to consider police integrity from important points of view, including legal framework and citizens’ perspective. The report can help make a comprehensive study and a deeper analysis of each chapter.
The Report is published as part of the Action “Western Balkans Pulse for Police Integrity and Trust: POINTPULSE”. The Action is supported by the European Union through the program “Civil Society Facility” under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). The contents of the Report are the sole responsibility of the Centre for Security Studies and views expressed in this document are not necessarily those of the European Union.