The Center for Democracy and Human Rights and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Montenegro organized the conference “Police in the protection of human rights and freedoms of citizens” on December 7 in Podgorica at the Hilton Hotel, Princess Milica Hall, starting at 10 a.m. The conference was realized as part of the project “Police at the service of citizens”, which aims to contribute to the fight against human rights violations through the improvement of police capacities (including students of the Police Academy), control mechanisms when performing police activities, as well as knowledge citizens about their rights and how to report their violation by the police.
The conference was an opportunity for an open discussion on the need for further development of the civil rights protection system and the improvement of the role of the police in that context, and it will consider citizens’ perception of police work, security and cooperation, and gathered high-ranking officials and the media.
The German ambassador to Montenegro, Peter Felten, opened the conference by pointing out that an approach based on human rights must be part of the spirit of police work.
“Police officers need to be well trained in all aspects of their job in order to promote a rights-based approach,” Felten said.
He emphasized that insufficient capacity in the police is not an excuse for violating human rights and assessed that the leadership and leadership of the police, as well as the political, is needed, which will lead others by example in what they do. According to him, based on the experience with the police, the public will get an impression of whether an official is a credible representative of the state, whether there is a rule of law, whether the public’s rights are actively protected and whether they have a protective or repressive attitude.
Felten said that, in accordance with international standards, the police and the government should show that they are ready to react in a responsible manner, which means that those who do not act in accordance with the law will be sanctioned.
The director of CEDEM, Milena Bešić, said that in a society where challenges are constantly changing, the role of the police is crucial, but that this role must be harmonized with the rights and freedoms of all.
She said that as part of the project, CEDEM organized training sessions for police officers and students of the Police Academy.
“CEDEM has been working for a long time to strengthen the capacity of institutions, including in the security sector. “We are trying to sensitize the officials to respect human rights more in their actions, and also to introduce them to the practice of the European Court of Human Rights,” said Bešić.
She emphasized that the research showed that the Police Department must intensify its efforts in order to initiate dialogue and effective reporting of incidents.
“Up-to-date and constant response to complaints and problems is imperative, so as not to cause a drop in citizens’ trust in the police service,” said Bešić.
She said that more than 50 percent of citizens are satisfied with the resolution of the police’s problems, but that the slow response is one of the complaints. At the same time, she emphasized that the responsibility of the police is crucial and that the penal policy must be stricter.
The panel discussion was moderated by Duška Pejović, a media expert. The discussion was attended by Tamara Pavićević, Chief Police Inspector in the Police Directorate, Mirjana Radović, Deputy Protector for Human Rights and Freedoms, PhD. Dražen Cerović, member of the Council for Citizen Control of Police Work, and Ivana Đođić, representative of the Civic Alliance and member of the Ethics Committee in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.