Vinnytsia Oblast’s Severynivka Rapid Response Center: what it’s about

Since autumn, Severynivka territorial community has its own rapid response center, with a fire department, administrative services center and district policeman’s office all under one roof. The institution oversees security in seven localities and is manned by volunteers from among the locals.

The Human Rights Information Center visited Severynivka village to learn about those implementing Polish experience with security centers in Ukraine.


At the initiative of Severynivka community, over UAH 0.5 million was invested in the center’s creation. The project application of the residents and the NGO Podil Agency for Regional Development was backed by the International Renaissance Foundation.

The center’s employees are volunteers from among the community members. After all, it’s the locals who are most interested in making their homes safe.

Severynivka community decided they would be nurturing their security-minded elite starting with schools - an elite that will support and build security in the future. To this end, adult volunteers and highschool students are being taught first aid, fire fighting and special equipment skills.

“There is a mechanism in Poland when teams of volunteers respond to calls and handle their tasks effectively. Their main incentive for this is recognition, because in gminas (in Poland, a city, village or a group of villages or cities), volunteers are considered an elite,” says Ivan Obraztsov, manager of the project "Safe Community - Common Interest, Common Responsibility" of the Podil Agency for Regional Development.

Among the first things the community did for better security was installing 24 cameras in 5 villages and 2 hamlets, which cost them UAH 600 thousand. Some of the cameras monitor roads, others are located in social institutions - at hospitals, the kindergarten, health center, school, cafe and other places that see large numbers of people.

The system makes it possible to monitor the situation in real time.

The cameras record car plates 24/7. The software stores the data and keeps it on the community’s server for two weeks. The software features an intuitive search that shows a video recording of  a car’s movement and a photo of the plates as soon as their first three digits are typed in. Only law enforcement officers have access to this information.

Severynivka community is happy to report their first cracked case - theft of a motorbike.

“Of course, it won’t reduce crime rates by 100%, but now criminals will at least think twice whether it’s worth committing a crime when cameras are watching,” says Ivan Obraztsov. 

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Ruslan Petrunko, deputy head of the Preventive Activities Division of Vinnytsia police, hopes that other territorial communities will opt for similar projects.

“It is difficult for law enforcement to guarantee a safe environment without the support of communities and local self-government. Such projects make it possible to prevent crime and offenses, and it's better than dealing with their consequences.”

The community is currently forming a team of 20 firefighters, who will undergo appropriate training.

“Volunteers will be on duty once or twice a month. Everyone will find time for this work,” says community resident and volunteer lifeguard Sergiy Skorysh.

Ruslan Shevchuk, head of the Main Directorate of the State Emergency Service in Vinnytsia Oblast, promises that the training will be thorough. According to him, Severynivka community has no multi-storey buildings, aside from the school, so no specialized training will be required here.

Using the funds provided by the International Renaissance Foundation, the community has already purchased 10 radios and uniforms for the firefighters, while the Polish Gmina Puńsk provided them with a vehicle able to carry 6 tons of water, as part of a partnership charity program.

Ruslan Shevchuk was impressed by the vehicle, saying that even rayons of the oblast have nothing as powerful, as their ZIL-130 and ZIL-131 vehicles can transport no more than 2.5 tons of water, which is only enough for 3 minutes of extinguishing.

In the future the initiative’s authors plan to renovate the local fire department building and purchase protective equipment, to rescue people inside buildings with low visibility due to large amounts of smoke. This will require UAH 1 million, so they are now looking for funds. The renovation will likely be jointly funded by sponsors, the community, as well as oblast and state budgets, as security is everyone’s concern.

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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