By ROLAND QAFOKU
The murder of one man and the injury of two others in central Tirana, which saw the involvement of eight different people, brought to surface the real crime situation in the country. It’s true that this year, the number of murders in the country was 37, the lowest number in the past 28 years, but we need to stress that the perception of Albanian citizens about crime goes beyond any figures which may be supplied. When a murder occurs in the centre of the capital, only 50 meters from the parliamentary speaker’s office, 100 meters from the Prime Minister’s office and 100 meters from the office of the President of Republic, gives us a real perception of how serious the situation is.
But why did it come to this? How is it possible that police are losing control of the situation? What’s happening with law and order and how could this situation be addressed? I shall provide 10 arguments on this.
1.SUSPENSION OF VETTING PROCESS WITHIN POLICE RANKS
The suspension of the vetting process within police ranks may be considered as one of the most important reasons why crime rates in the country have seen an increase. More than a year ago, authorities declared that they would embark on a new screening process which aimed at removing all incriminated police officers. If this is not done, then police can never guarantee law and order in the country.
2.POLITICAL INTERFERENCES WITHIN POLICE
Suspension of the vetting process within police could not have happened if it weren’t for political interference. In the past 28 years, both SP and DP have always wanted to have police under their command. If we want the situation to improve, then this interference should come to an end.
3.POLICE WITHDRAWAL AFTER RECEIVING A HARD BLOW
Every time there’s been a serious event, police have always withdrawn from the battle ground. Nothing has happened to MPs, ministers or politicians. Police officers are the only ones who have fallen in the line of duty or who have ended up in prison. There have been around 300 police officers fallen in the line of duty in the past 28 years and this hard blow has its cost. What was the result of this? Every time there’s been a serious event, police has withdrawn from its battle with crime.
4.EVENTS WHICH ARE MADE PUBLIC
In the past few months, a series of events have been kept hidden to the public and have not even been reported by the media. Police have its own mechanisms and they must issue statements to inform the public opinion.
5.OPERATIONS ARE SABOTAGED
There’s nothing worse than when a police operation is underway and this operation is sabotaged by people within police ranks. Without any doubt, such officers should be held accountable and this kind of filthy practice should come to an end.
6.PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES SHOULD COLLABORATE WITH POLICE
It’s has often happened that people who have been arrested by police, have been released by prosecution and court. Given that many serious crimes have not yet been solved, this means that police and prosecution have not secured the necessary evidence against the suspects. Therefore, cooperation between prosecution and court would help for the solution of many cases, especially sensitive cases which need immediate intervention by the authorities.
7.POLICE SHOULD BE MORE TRANSPARENT WITH THE MEDIA
In the past 28 years, police have had a permanent ally despite the political situation in the country. Although the media has often positioned been influenced by politics, in the majority of cases, media has supported police and in a way, police have been open with the media. However, recently, police have not been as transparent with the media as they’ve been in the past and this situation should change.
8.POLICING WITHIN THE COMMUNITY
A few months ago, Interior minister Fatmir Xhafaj turned this into a tradition. Police should not be considered as a military installation. On the contrary, police should work on the ground and collaborate with the community. But it looks like we’re going back to the same situation that we had before. Have we seen any meetings take place recently between police and the community? Unfortunately, no.
9.NO MORE SUPERINTENDENTS
I don’t know who the superintendent of the area that I’ve been living in for the past 12 years is. I’m sure that there are many like me who don’t know him. This is not a good sign. A police superintendent is worth more than hundreds of agents, informers and police officers. His database is a precious treasure for criminal police and this helps not only to solve crimes, but also to prevent them.
10.JANITORS AND POLICE
The appointment of building janitors is an incentive of the municipality which needs to be praised. But, is there cooperation between police and janitors? If police seek information on somebody, then janitors are obliged to provide this information, especially when it comes to cases relating to domestic violence, drug users and drug traffickers.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy