Eurotink research: The Ministry of Internal Affairs has insufficiently released the service information on personal documents to the public

Photo: Vaska M. Mladenovska

The service information in the past period should have been distributed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs more intensively, with a certain dynamic and a certain structure and continuously to the citizens in order to renew their personal documents, travel documents - said Aleksandar Stojanovski, researcher and project coordinator at the Eurotink Center for European strategies at today's regional event held in Bitola.

Stojanovski pointed out that as the Center for European Strategies they are making efforts to put information with a service character in the foreground.

- For a certain period, this service information is ordinary or insignificant, but, from what we saw during 2022 and 2023, insufficient information was released to the public related to the administrative affairs of the Ministry of the Interior, with the documents. In our analyses, the percentage of the amount of information, the nature of which was placed, is categorized. Information about committed crimes, caught criminals dominates, there is information related to a preventive plan by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but service information, such as personal documents, does not have an increased frequency as it should have with the whole process and a problem that arose - says Stojanovski.

As a researcher and coordinator of the project for accountable and transparent police, he says that Eurotink has been actively working for the accountability and transparency of the police in the Republic of North Macedonia for three years.

- We are making a set of research tools in continuity, which should give us a picture of how the public perceives the work of the police. And in those surveys we see the aspects of transparency, accountability, professionalism, independence from party business influences, etc. Through the research of public opinion, what are the attitudes of the citizens regarding the work of the police, but at the same time we see how the institutions, the Ministry of the Interior, the external mechanisms for control over the work of the police work through publicly available information about their work, Stojanovski points out.

The Center for European Strategies Eurotink monitors the media, what type of information they convey, how much they give a critical review of the information that the police divulges to the public.

- In that direction, we monitored the work of these institutions, but also the media section in terms of how it was reported in relation to the issues that have been presented to the public. That information is sublimated into what we call the baseline assessment of transparency and accountability of police work for 2022. There is a big change in how much information of a preventive nature is transmitted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the public and how the media transmits it. We looked at ten media that have a search tool. It can be seen that the media transmits information related to preventive work. There is no lack of news from the black chronicle, but there is some form of synergy between the people who work on prevention and the media that understand the importance of this information - adds Stojanovski.

Eurotink conducts eight regional events where they try to provide a platform for dialogue between the police, local self-government, media workers, civil society organizations and citizens.

- Regarding citizens' trust in the police, through questions to them, we see what their attitude is in terms of trust in the institutions. The public remembers when the judiciary received 8 percent trust, that was a figure that came out of our public opinion survey. Trust is not bad, it is not surprising. The police is in the first four institutions with the most trust, along with the ARM, the president of the state, religious communities. Trust can be improved and our goal is to improve accountability and transparency, to indirectly influence trust. The relationship, professionalism and presence of the police are key to trust. In the last survey we did last month, which has not yet been published, 47 percent of the respondents want a more frequent presence of the police in their environments. In the past, the fire service and the number of police officers in micro-environments, is something we don't see today. Today we see the police who are here, but do not make close contact with citizens, sit in vehicles, remove irregularities in traffic, are not present in sufficient numbers in public places where people need or feel safe. The greater number of citizens demand interaction with the police as a public service - informed at today's event in Bitola, Aleksandar Stojanovski, researcher and project coordinator at Eurotink - Center for European Strategies.

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