Since 2016 an NGO DreamKyiv supported by the International Renaissance Foundation has been developing a multi-functional online platform bezpechne.community – Cooperation between the community and police.
Since 2016 an NGO DreamKyiv supported by the International Renaissance Foundation has been developing a multi-functional online platform bezpechne.community – Cooperation between the community and police. The website aims to facilitate communication between the community members and police officers on addressing non-urgent problems in the city. Bezpechne.community (Safe community) service has been already functional in Kyiv, Poltava and Ternopil. Next cities to join are Kropyvnytskyi and Kamianets-Podilskyi.
“In the course of law enforcement system reform, we found that many concerns and even aggression of citizens towards the police officers are rooted in poor understanding of the police activities. Citizens have a lot of questions but do not know where to seek answers. Why the police officers don’t impound a vehicle that is parked on a lawn? Why a traffic light has not yet been installed on a dangerous junction? What does a district police officer do and how I can find him/her? Why police officers put a blind eye on illicit trade? What shall I do if a boozy neighbor walks a fight dog without a leash and a muzzle?”, tells Anastasia Bahnii, Bezpechne.community project manager.
To address this issue, we decided to set up a dialogue platform, a user-friendly service where every person can ask his/her questions and get a response in plain – rather than bureaucratic – language. The service is not the same that 102, it provides consultations and covers non-urgent issues.
Key objective of the service is to explain which problems of the community fall under the competence of police, and which are the job of municipal authorities – in other words, to provide detailed information on who is responsible for certain issue and how to seek help.
“Bezpechne.community platform is a helpful source of information for the Traffic Police Unit – the users drop their messages on traffic problems that they spot (no traffic sign, traffic light is out of service, etc.), and the officers verify them and issue orders to the competent institutions on providing the respective repair/installation. The citizens become the ‘eyes’ of police, help police work more efficiently and make the community feel more secure,” Anastasia Bahnii explains.
How does Bezpechne.community platform work? It is based on interactive Google map of the city that features two basic services.
- Service “Ask a police officer.” A user chooses his/her city and address and briefs on his/her issue. After the moderation, a request is displayed on the map having a status “solution pending.” When the police provide an answer, the status is changed to “solution found.” Requests and answers are accessible to any visitor of the platform. Police officers engage lawyers, local officials, other government or non-government organizations and every other stakeholder that has necessary information to address a request.
- Service “District police officer account” will be launched in September 2018 in all cities connected to Bezpechne.community platform. Residents can use this service to learn contacts of their district officer (name, location and opening hours, phone number), subscribe to a newsletter or drop a private message to a district officer.
Objectives of the platform:
- Transfer the information to the responsible police unit: Main Department of the National Police, Patrol Police or Municipal Guard (if available in the city).
- Explain to a user an algorithm of actions to have his/her concern addressed.
- Explain legal and procedural aspects of police officers’ activity.
- Provide as much supporting information as possible.
- Talk to a user in plain and colloquial language.
- Provide detailed answers.
Who moderates the portal? The service is normally moderated by a civic activist who cooperates with a patrol police officer responsible for community liaison. In addition to direct processing of requests, the moderator shall also promote the platform among the community. DreamKyiv drafted a model action plan for the service promotion that entails online publications and offline meetings. It can be adapted to an individual city.
Most popular requests of users:
- Violation of traffic rules and bringing perpetrators to liability;
- Problems related to road use (poor road quality; illegal, damaged or missing traffic signs; out-of-service traffic lights, etc.);
- Places of illicit trade;
- Neighbors who consume or sell drugs;
- Shindigs next to their homes.
Why the police is interested in the platform?
“If Bezpechne.community is working properly, it will relieve police officers from handling numerous requests that have nothing to do with police competence. The service map enables to see that in most cases, this is not the police that is directly responsible for certain issues, and local authorities have their role to play,” explains Oleksii Ziborov, Deputy Head of Community Liaison Unit of Patrol Police Department.
Maryna Zyniukha, Poltava patrol police officer, adds: “The service helps the police to become more inclusive. Indeed, persons who cannot come to police unit due to their physical condition are now able to influence on police activities. The simplified communication will let us hear more citizens.”
Interested in connecting your city to Bezpechne.community platform? Contact project manager Anastasia Bahnii at firstname.lastname@example.org.