The conclusions drawn by the organizers of the training, i.e. the Association “Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior Women Network – RS WPON”, on the basis of the notes taken during each education, the analysis of the questionnaires filled in by police officers – trainees and the individual opinions of the educators are the following:
Even though Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence sets out that the police is obliged to immediately notify the competent prosecutor of the domestic violence event and to provide the evidence and information with the report, the representatives of some district prosecutor’s offices believe that there is no need to inform the prosecutor immediately, especially when it comes to the late hours of the night, which creates a problem for the acting police officers since they themselves have the responsibility “to evaluate the gravity of the violence and to qualify it”;
The abovementioned situation also represents a problem in case of apprehension of a perpetrator of domestic violence – whether the apprehension is done for a misdemeanor or a criminal offense, which rises issues of practical nature – if a person, who is apprehended due to circumstances indicating that he or she will repeat the offense or complete the attempted offense, cannot be immediately brought to the court by the police, he or she can be detained for a maximum of 12 hours. When it comes to the commission of a criminal offence, an apprehended person can be detained for up to 24 hours;
So the issue is the lack of communication between the prosecutors and the police in a sense that police officers simply do not know when and in what situations they should immediately call prosecutors and when not. The proposed solution is a meeting between heads of the prosecution and police to agree on a uniform treatment;
The biggest problem for the police is qualifying a domestic violence case as a criminal offence or as a misdemeanor. The dilemma should be eliminated by the prosecutor’s offices and the police, that is, the prosecutor’s offices should specify to the police the differences between a criminal offence and a misdemeanor;
The Law on Protection against Domestic Violence, protocols signed by subjects of protection, rulebooks and other by-laws, clearly and precisely define the obligations and roles of the subjects of protection, among others, of the RS MoI members, from the very beginning, i.e. from the moment a domestic violence case is reported to the implementation of protective measures. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, experience shared at conducted seminars and trainings indicated that police acted differently depending on police administrations, that is, depending on a police station in a certain city;
The interaction with the seminar participants (low and middle management police staff), showed that police acts inconsistently, which is reflected in the following: domestic violence cases are somewhere dealt by uniformed police officers and somewhere by crime inspectors; district prosecutors are somewhere informed on a reported domestic violence case and gathered information by phone and somewhere by filing a report; police officers independently assess and decide whether a domestic violence case is a misdemeanor or a criminal offence, and accordingly file a request for a misdemeanor proceeding without notifying the prosecution.
The recommendations made by the organizers of the training, i.e. the Association “RS MoI Women Network – RS WPON” on the basis of the notes taken during each education, the analysis of the questionnaires filled in by police officers – trainees and the individual opinions of the educators are as they follow:
- It became evident that police officers crave these types of training, with elements of continuity, where they are given unlimited opportunity to talk with prosecutors and other educators at the seminar in order to immediately clarify the concerns they encounter in their work and to exchange experiences, which proved to be invaluable;
- Obligatory or optional meetings between chief prosecutors, heads of departments of the Prosecutor’s Offices and police officers – managers in Police Administrations in order to resolve, through direct coordination, the concerns about the police officers’ approach and establish a uniform legal practice;
- Organize trainings for police officers in different lines of work, where educators would be prosecutors from relevant prosecutor’s offices, who usually act on reports filed by individual organizational units of the Ministry of the Interior (training for murder and sexual offence inspectors to be held by prosecutors who usually work on those type of cases, etc.);
- Organize and insist on the mandatory presence of police officers at trials, especially in situations where an indictment has been filed based on the reports of a particular organizational unit. This is important so that police officers can see in courtrooms where they are most often mistaken and how defense attorneys attack their work in order to prevent such or similar mistakes later on;
- Encourage more direct cooperation between prosecutors and police inspectors in order to ensure that prosecutors, as often as possible, attend investigative activities carried out by police officers on their orders (e.g. establishing identity of persons and objects at police administration premises, witness hearings, taking statements from suspects etc.) in order to be able to monitor on the spot the legality and effectiveness of the implementation of individual measures and to suggest ways to remedy them. All this would be of great importance in establishing a uniform practice;
- When persons fined for domestic violence misdemeanors do not pay the fine, they are recorded in the register of unpaid fines, which are deleted after five years, so that the actual sanction to a perpetrator of a domestic violence misdemeanor is the inability to register the vehicle, to extend the driving license, etc. In order to avoid this and for the fine to serve its purpose, it is necessary to propose amendments to the legislation in a sense that courts, when imposing a fine, set a deadline for its payment and a threat of imprisonment if the fine is not paid within the deadline;
- Due to the fact that the fines imposed to the perpetrators of domestic violence misdemeanors residing in the Federation of BiH who have committed the mentioned misdemeanor at the territory of the Republic of Srpska, cannot be forcibly collected because this is refused by the relevant authorities of FBiH due to the non-compliance of legal regulations that do not allow it, it is necessary to send an initiative to the relevant authorities of FBiH to amend the regulations in order to overcome the aforementioned problem.