Empowering citizen groups for Police Accountability

Duration:  1 December, 2006 to  15 June, 2007

Supported: Casals/USAID

Location: Tiranë, Durrës

Project Description: The State Police is the main institution that provides public safety and order in Albania. As it happens with other state institutions in the country, certain elements of the State Police reportedly are corrupted, abuse with their positions and power to attain underserved or illegal privileges. This project, developed in partnership with Citizen Advocacy Office (CAO) and Albanian Coalition Against Corruption (ACAC), is an attempt to fight these phenomena through public accountability of State Police to communities of citizens.

The goal of the project is reduction of corruption and abuse of law in the State Police through the rise of public awareness and organization of citizens.
The objectives are: (1) establishment of Citizen Police Review Boards to investigate and negotiate by public procedures cases of corruption and abuse of power in State Police and (2) rising the level of awareness of community and police officers on the phenomenon of corruption.

This is a pilot project that is implemented in Tirana and Durres. In both cities Citizen Police Review Boards are composed by volunteer citizens with a distinguished professional background and good reputation in their communities. The duties of these boards are to investigate and discuss upon the cases of police corruption, abuse of power or passivity that will be reported to them by citizens through phone numbers. Then the boards draft recommendations for the police commissariats and for typical cases of corruption or power abuse it will organize juxtapositions between concerned citizens and police officers or their superiors.

The Citizen Police Review Boards do not aim to replace the internal measurement and accountability of the State Police. But Citizen Police Review Boards will ensure close interaction between police officers and citizens to identify those officers who are misbehaving and corrupted and to compliment those who are performing well. Both the formal departmental structure and continual citizen feedback are necessary for an effective accountability system. Following the investigation of corruption cases, the recommendations of Citizen Police Review Boards will be addressed to the local Chiefs of Commissariats and to the central structure of the General Directory of Police. If no action is taken on the given issue by these structures, then the cases will be made public in order to put the State Police before the accountability of the public opinion. Through these activities, the project aims at raising the awareness of citizens about corruption and turning them from passive consumers of public safety to its active producers, as well as offering the State Police a means to measure and improve its work through the accountability to communities.