Calling for greater police transparency

Kyiv, 29 September 2015 – Civic activists from different regions of Ukraine participated in the Openness of Law Enforcement System conference, organized by the Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors in Law Enforcement (UMDPL) and the Ombudsperson's Office with the support of UNDP Ukraine.

DSC 0592-300x199Amid the ongoing reform process of law enforcement agencies towards fair and impartial policing, the conference was aimed at discussing the issues of police openness and transparency, sharing experiences, and building cooperation between civil society and Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights under the Ombudsman Plus model.
"The driving force of any change is active citizens. Thanks to them, we can make our law enforcement agencies more transparent, accessible, and democratic," UMDPL CEO Vadym Pyvovarov said in his welcoming remarks.
DSC 0400-300x199Iryna Kushnir, Representative of the Commissioner for drafting constitutional appeals and observance of the right of access to public information, drew upon the importance of access to public information in Ukraine and outlined the challenges facing the Commissioner in implementing the Law of Ukraine "On Access to Public Information."
Every citizen's unimpeded access to public information, especially in the law enforcement system, is an effective mechanism for the prevention of corruption and one of the signs of transparency of the law enforcement system as a whole. This was stressed by the conference's participants who vividly discussed the issues of law enforcement system openness in Ukraine.
DSC 0632-300x199Ivan Yurchyk from UMDPL presented the main findings of UNDP-supported nationwide monitoring compliance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine with the right to access public information. The conference's participants showed great interest in the findings of the monitoring campaign, turning the conversation into a long and interesting discussion.
"Open and transparent law enforcement is one of the priorities of Ukraine's pro-European aspirations, in particular, creating a system that provides three standards: transparency, accountability, and public participation," UMDPL expert Uliana Shadska underlined.
DSC 0422-300x199To establish new priorities in the field of openness and transparency of law enforcement bodies, Uliana Shadska shared the idea of developing the Open Police Strategy.
"Open Police Strategy is not just the introduction of tools for communication and access to information. Above all, it is a new management philosophy, built on the principles of transparency, accountability, collaboration, and public participation. We are convinced that without ensuring a high level of openness and interaction with the public, we cannot return people's confidence in the police," Ms. Shadska emphasized.
Improving public confidence in law enforcement requires great effort and a clear understanding of citizens' perceptions of the police, participants summed up. The conference's discussions and the search for new solutions inspired civic monitors for future achievements and proactive work.