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Monitoring of unlawful violence in Ukrainian police: results of the survey

20.03.12 | Denys Kobzin
1. This year research shows that less than a third of respondents (28.3%) think the activities of the militia of Ukraine are effective. Slightly higher number of respondents (29, 5%) estimates the local police as effective one. At the same time, most people are disappointed with the police. Thus, 54, 1% respondents have expressed dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of the Ukrainian police; 48 2% not satisfied with local police. So, unfortunately, the ratio of people who consider Ukrainian militia as effective one against those who have the opposite opinion, is not in favor of the police.
2. The results of research allow to note huge scale of illegal violence in police stations. 63, 3% of the respondents said, that unlawful violence in police is common phenomenon. The estimated number of victims of unlawful violence in the Ukraine police in 2011 had grown to 980,000 people, and torture victims - more than 100 thousand people.
3. Lack of effective investigation of police brutality in Ukraine caused by absence of independence in investigative bodies and objective and comprehensive statistics on this phenomenon. The current system delegates investigation back to police or Prosecutors Office and they dooming it for lack of objectivity. In addition, the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor’s Office statistics largely are reflecting the current system of indicators, with all its characteristics - subjectivity, bias, embellishment.
4. Ukrainian public believes that the potential risk of being subjected to torture or ill-treatment in police maintained for almost any person in the territory of Ukraine. This risk to be a torture victim is still high irrespectively of personal history and characteristics. At the same time, those who are suspected of committing a crime are especially vulnerable, as well as persons who really committed crime and their guilt is obvious.
5. Public opinion remains persistent stereotypes about the subjects and the structures that can effectively assist in cases of torture or ill-treatment by police. Unfortunately, these stereotypes have no relation to reality. Thus, significant number of respondents still believe, that the most effective agents in police brutality investigations are the prosecutors and the higher authorities in police itself. At the same time, the victims experience shows, that 75% of appeals to these structures were either useless or simply ignored. Because of this, illegal police violence remains extremely latent phenomenon, as people perceive the current system of care as an inefficient and avoid it.
6. Comparative analysis of research data of 2004 - 2011 period, shows a decline of the level of tolerance of the population to torture or other ill-treatment cases in police. Today, torture and unlawful violence is not justified and considered unacceptable for 78% of the population.
7. According to research data, enabling factors for illegal violence in the Ukrainian police, are:
- impunity of police officers who use illegal methods in the work,
- poor professional selection,
- low professional and cultural level of police officers.
We also can emphasize steadily increasing number of people, who thinks that unlawful violence caused by existence of quantitative indicators in police reporting, weak management, as well as the fact that the courts accept evidence obtained by using illegal methods.
8. To prevent unlawful violence in the Ukrainian police respondents suggest:
1) to make punishment for police officers for acts of unjustified violence, cruelty, tortures stronger.
2) to improve the selection of applicants for police work,
3) to improve training system of police personnel and improve control system of their activities
4) to involve NGOs and the media as important institutions of civil society in solving this problem.
9. Respondents - inmates in 2011 reported about worsening of police detention centers conditions. It mostly related to the unavailability of fresh water, shower, unjustified visits denials and parcels, unavailability of solicitors. At the same time inmates emphasized that the situation with cells overcrowding is a bit improved, as well as ventilation and temperature control in cells.
10. Unfortunately, non-systematic actions for improving situation in 2011 which was undertaken hasnt changed financing of law-enforcement agencies or changing the system parameters. Police accountability system has not been improved, as well as detainees rights protection. Systems of unlawful violence in police investigation, professional selection and training of police officers also remained unchanged.