102 no longer your only recourse. In Kyiv’s Holosiyivskyi District, residents can now contact the police online

Residents of Kyiv’s Holosiyivskyi District are now able to contact their district police officer using a service called district officer’s e-office, built into the platform for communicating with the police Bezpechne.community. The National Police hopes that this service will help increase the public’s trust in law enforcement. Among other things, the service allows people to ask the police questions, mark unsafe spots of the district, street or neighborhood on the map, and file crime reports. 

Platform creators told the Human Rights Information Center about its benefits and updates. 

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Thus, starting October 29, district residents will be able to use the service to find out their district police officer’s contact information, whereabouts and visiting hours and even send them a message. To do this, users must indicate their address and click on the icon featuring a policeman. 

Olga Yuskevych, assistant to the head of Kyiv’s main police department, calls on the public not to be shy and to tell their district offices about any security concerns they might have. 

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“You can contact your district officer regarding any security-related issue. It can be for any reason: some information that makes you worry about your loved ones, negative behavior of people close to you, such as quarrels, fights, domestic violence, drinking alcohol at children’s playgrounds or inside residential buildings, noisy companies. Don’t be shy! If something’s bothering you, contact your district officers, talk to them. It’s our duty to make you feel safe,” she says.

The district’s officer’s e-office will be tested for three months, after which other districts of the capital are going to join the project. District officers must respond to inquiries from citizens within two business days. Project authors will eventually inspect the public’s messages to evaluate the efficiency of the district officers’ work. 

 

WHAT IS IT FOR? 

Bezpechne.сommunity is one of the modes of cooperation between the police and the public (community policing). Its philosophy is for the police to take into account people’s opinions regarding security in their work  

According to Anastasiya Bagniy, coordinator of the project Cooperation between the Police and the Public at the DreamKyiv organization, before the police reform, the only way for Ukrainians to reach law enforcement was via the 102 phone line. However, the law on National Police changed things. It states that police must operate in cooperation with the public, territorial communities and civil society organizations, treating them as partners and striving to meet their needs.

As Olga Yuskevich points out, global experience shows that security issues get resolved the more efficiently, the large the number of stakeholders involved in the process. 

“We want the public to understand that it is local authorities, not the police, that are responsible for street lighting. However, when a community does not know how to reach the authorities, we will help. It is not difficult for us to point people in the right direction, provide legal grounds why certain bodies must perform certain actions or resolve a security issue that is within their scope of responsibilities,” she explains.   

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COOPERATION WITH THE PUBLIC

Aside from the district officer’s e-office, Bezpechne.community allows users to ask the police any question they want, to mark a dangerous spot on the map or report a crime. The message’s author will receive detailed instructions on what to do in their specific situation, or their information will be forwarded to the appropriate police division. However, the DreamKyiv emphasizes that the Bezpechne.community platform is not another 102. It can not solve every issue a community has, but is rather supposed to deal with non-urgent situations and to increase citizens’ responsibility and engagement in security matters.  

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“If some issue is not within the scope of responsibilities of the police, we provide the author with the algorithm on how to help the issue along. For instance, one person complained that a billboard was hampering visibility at one of Kyiv’s intersections and asked to have it removed. We notified the traffic security division of the National Police about this and reminded the author about new city regulations on the placement of ground advertisements that came into effect recently. The new rules prohibit placing them within a 30 meter radius from an intersection,” tells website moderator Anastasiya Bagniy.

The platform works together with the National Academy of Internal Affairs and the Free Legal Aid Center of Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice. These institutions come into play when an issue calls for legal expertise. 

The platform allows citizens to find out who is responsible for installing traffic lights or repainting crossing markings, whether it is allowed to install a barrier or organize a parking lot, when police officers are authorized to search a person, etc. For instance, if tree branches have grown over a road sign, the website’s moderators will tell you that you need to contact the traffic security division of the patrol police, whose representatives will then order the body that owns that sign to remove the branches.

“This way people become the eyes of this division. It only has 40 officers on its staff, tasked to inspect roads all over Kyiv, and it’s physically impossible for them to spot every problem,” says Anastasiya Bagniy. 

The police hope that the platform will help take the load off of the 102 line, redirecting frequent issues that the police are not responsible for. 

According to Olga Yuskevich, the platform has demonstrated excellent results after operating for over a year. 

“People are actively and anonymously sharing what they are concerned about. They are ready to work and resolve security issues together. Today’s public knows the law and is willing to share the responsibilities of executive authorities. The National Police considers Bezpechne.community as an extra source of information regarding existing security concerns in the city. Taking this information under advisement, the police, when necessary, makes appropriate adjustments to the work of their divisions. This manifests itself in changed patrol routes or the number of officers and measures used in specific areas,” says Olga Yuskevych.  

 

PLANS

The Bezpechne.community service is available not only for Kyiv, but also for Poltava and Ternopil. However, project creators plan to expand the platform to include other cities as well. According to Anastasiya Bagniy, Kamyanets-Podilskiy and Kropyvnytskyi are next in line to join. 

At the same time, she notes that the platform is more for large cities than for united territorial communities, because an initiative group or civil society organization willing to coordinate and support the project is a prerequisite. 

The experts says it was the PR department of the police that accepted this responsibility in Poltava, in Ternopil it was the Mayor and the City Security Center, while in Kamyanets-Podilskiy and Kropyvnytskyi this role will belong to NGOs.  

The authors of Bezpechne.community expect local initiatives to be funded from city budgets. 

“The service is currently funded by the International Renaissance Foundation, but it won’t last forever. For sustainable operation, funding should be secured at the local level,” says Anastasiya Bagniy.  

Mykola Myrnyj, journalist, Human Rights Information Center 

The Human Rights Information Center together with the International Renaissance Foundation collects practices of effective cooperation between communities and the police, to be shared among other communities.

If you want to know more about the development of community policing in Ukraine, subscribe to the Bezpechne community Facebook page, which is dedicated to the studies of Ukrainian and global expertise on community-oriented police work. 

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This site is created and operated with the support of the International Foundation Vidrodzhennia. The site is administered by the Human Rights Information Center.
WARNING! This site performs the informational and educational function. The site is not an analogue of the service "102" and does not fulfill the function of prompt response.