Trust through public accountability

Authors: Samara Papieva, Timur Shaikhutdinov, Urmat Kazakbaev, Ravshan Abdukarimov, Larisa Katsura, Anna Cherepanova, Galina Davletbaeva, Aizhan Mairambekova

In Kyrgyzstan work is being carried out to improve the relationship between the public and the police on the basis of community-based policing principles, through the implementation of 'reporting meetings' where groups involved in maintaining community security can share their experiences and responses.

Research carried out by the Civic Union for Reforms and Results, with support from Saferworld, found that Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) recognised the importance of strengthening police-public relationships: although there were exceptions, on the whole the public pointed to a lack of openness by the police which led to the perception that the police were inactive, while the police felt the public were not open to cooperation and were unwilling to assist them.

Reporting meetings have the potential to become a mechanism for increasing trust in the police and building public respect for the work carried out by neighbourhood police officers (NPO). However, there are concerns, including that meetings are not regularly held or adequately publicised, that when they are run they can be limited to participants at village levels and not the wider community, and sometimes the police use the meetings to inform the public and do not open up for wider dialogue.

Civic Union for Reforms and Results have developed recommendations for stakeholders, including:

  • The Ministry of Interior must monitor the comprehensive implementation of NPO reporting meetings as part of their work with the LEAs;
  • Reporting meetings must be used as a forum for dialogue with citizens to discuss and find solutions to issues of public security;
  • A common schedule should be developed for reporting days across the region, and this information must be publicised to the communities and online;
  • The public should be made aware of progress and results on questions raised in meetings.

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