Seven Ukrainian police officers will be visiting the University of Leicester Scarman Centre as part of an initiative to change attitudes within the Ukrainian police force.
Their visit is part of a major project funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The police officers will be visiting the University and various police forces from 5th November until 3rd December 2000. They are coming to learn about British methods of community policing. The three year project aims to help the Ukrainian police reform their existing approaches to dealing with crime and the way they respond to the needs of local communities.
Until independence in 1991, Ukraine was a part of the former Soviet Union and as such, inherited many of its centralised and bureaucratic state structures. It also had a policing system based upon protecting the state rather than serving the public.
Research from the first phase of the project shows that as a consequence of this, levels of public trust in the police are very low, while concerns about corruption and a lack of respect for human rights are high.
In recognition of this, the Ukrainian Government is actively seeking to bring in a wide range of reforms to make their police more accountable and more geared towards meeting the needs of the local community.
The current project fits within this reform process and seeks to introduce a series of community-policing style initiatives, based upon the UK experience, into one city in Ukraine (Kharkiv). It is a pioneering project based upon genuine partnership between academics and police forces in the UK and Ukraine.
The seven visitors include General Alexander Yarmish, the First Vice Rector of the University of Kharkiv together with senior members of the police from the districts within the city taking part in the project. They are Colonel Andrey Besyedin and Colonel Valery Moskovets. They will be staying in the UK for one week and will have meetings at the University of Leicester, West Midlands Police and the Metropolitan Police. The aim is to give them a good understanding of how the police in the UK are now organised to meet the needs of the local community.
The remaining four visitors will be in the UK for one month. They all work at the University of Kharkiv; two as lecturers (Colonel Tetyana Katkova and Colonel Alexey Povolotskiy), one as a researcher (Alexander Stepanov) and one as a postgraduate student (Yuriy Byelousov). As part of their visit they will be going on patrol with British police officers, visiting local community schemes, such as Neighbourhood Watch, Domestic Violence Support Groups, and receiving lectures from experts at the University of Leicester.
Adrian Beck, the project director at the University of Leciester said: ‘This is a challenging project which seeks to help to change a policing system deeply rooted in the Soviet tradition. For 70 years the police saw their role primarily as protecting the state. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the move towards a more democratic and accountable government, Ukraine recognises the necessity for a police force which is sensitive to the needs of the public and appreciates the importance of human rights for all its citizens.
"This project and the visit by the seven Ukrainian police officers is an important part of this process. It is a credit to the policing system in this country that visitors from overseas want to come here to find out more about how it is organised and the principles upon which it is based’.
General Alexander Yarmish, the leader of the delegation from Ukraine added: ‘Ukraine is going through a difficult period of transition, and the help from the University of Leicester and the British police is greatly appreciated. The “bobby on the beat” is a fine British tradition and we are very much looking forward to meeting with colleagues in the UK to find out more about how we can work together to share experience’.
Note to editors: If you would like further information about the visit, or would like to meet with any of the project team or the visitors from Ukraine, please contact the Project Director Adrian Beck on 0116 252 5988 or 0116 252 5916, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will be an opportunity for interviews and photos on Monday 6th November 2000 at 10.45 am at the Scarman Centre, University of Leicester, 6 Salisbury Road, Leicester.
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