Consultation Forums: Internal control and external oversight mechanisms in the State Police
Effective internal control mechanisms remain hostage to fragile independence
Critical amendments to the law on Service on Internal Affairs and Complaints will contribute to strengthen the independence of the internal control of State Police in Albania
Tirana, 11 December 2018 – In the framework of the series of Consultation Forums on police integrity issues in Albania, IDM researchers Redion Qirjazi and Romario Shehu, presented the main recommendations on how to improve the external oversight and internal control mechanisms for a more transparent and accountable police service.
In the first part, Mr. Qirjazi highlighted the critical issues regarding the internal control mechanisms through the distinctions between the role of the Directorate on Performance and Standards (DPS) within the State Police and the Service on Internal Affairs and Complaints (SIAC). The later is the main control mechanism in place to safeguard police integrity. The main aspects of an effective internal control outlined by Mr. Qirjazi, are the better coordination of the control and inspection role between DPS and SIAC to avoid overlapping of tasks, the amendment of the law on SIAC in order to guarantee more independence through the appointment of its Director approved by the Parliament. The stability of this institution is hindered by the frequent changes in the Minister level that immediately translates in the removal of the head of the SIAC. Moreover, citizens complaint handling and overall transparency of SIAC institution has decreased in the last couple of years, thus hampering public trust. Another important aspect of SIAC mandate is the implementation of the Integrity Testing and issuing reports on this mechanism. To date, the Integrity Testing has not been implemented and the police vetting process has stalled any development in this regard.
Representatives of the international police assistance pointed out that SIAC currently is underperforming in terms of police control and that political independence remains a problem. The major issues are related to the specific areas of expertise that are not implemented such as financial and ICT inspections. Also, one of the main challenges of this institution in its activity is the fact that SIAC staff has to control their former colleagues. In this regard, it can be looked at international best practices to address this issue.
Regardless of these challenges, the representatives of SIAC expressed their continued efforts to detect and address police wrongdoings. The results of SIAC’s activity are hindered by the persistent culture of impunity in the subsequent prosecutorial and court proceedings.
External oversight is the weakest link towards police integrity
Parliamentary oversight is at foremost a political activity, therefore effective oversight cannot be achieved without the political will
The consultation session on external oversight focused mainly on IDM’s recommendation of the adoption of a specific law on parliamentary oversight of the security sector institutions as it is a known practice in most of the WB countries. Although, this is not an entirely new discussion for the Committee on National Security (CNS), this new law will serve to set clear procedures and responsibilities for the oversight mandate of this Committee.
As a journalist points out, the activity of CNS has been scarce despite the many issues that have compromised police integrity and the former political leadership of MoI. In addition, the absence of the opposition in the parliamentary activity has led to an impasse of the checks and balances.
Furthermore, the representative of the Ombudsman emphasized the need for the parliamentary committees to refer to the independent institution’s investigations and expertise in the realm of police integrity efforts as a basis of Parliament’s own oversight activity.