RA Police does not consider expedient analyzing application of ‘Guideline for Police Actions during Elections’13:11, October 12, 2017 | News, Own news | Electoral Rights | Police
Before the RA NA elections of April 2, 2017, the RA Police prepared and presented for public discussion the draft ‘Guideline for Police Actions during Elections’ defining the powers and responsibilities of police officers serving at polling stations.
At the public discussion of the draft Guideline held on February 2, 2017 on the initiative of the RA Police, civil society members including HCA Vanadzor presented their observations.
Later, the Guideline was approved and applied during the elections to both the RA NA and Yerevan City Council/Elders’ Council.
According to the approved Guideline, police officers should have recorded in their ‘service notepads’ any violations identified during the elections and voting. The Guideline also defined a mechanism for appealing police actions or inaction and to this end, a rapid-response headquarters was set up at the RA Police central office.
4 months passed after both elections and local elections were held as well, but the RA Police has not referred to any shortcomings identified or revealed during application of the Guideline it approved. Perhaps the Guideline is an effective document and needs no changes. But even in this regard, the RA Police gave no feedback.
In the post-election period we can no longer see the enthusiasm we witnessed before the National Assembly elections, especially during the preparation and public discussion of the Guideline.
Not only didn’t the RA Police publish any information on fulfillment by the police of the duties set out in the Guideline, but also they did not try to get from the civil society feedback on its application and efficiency.
It is unclear whether any analysis was made and whether the course of applying the Guidelines was assessed.
To get information on the said questions, on July 10, 2017 HCA Vanadzor filed an inquiry with the RA Police. By our inquiry we expected to get full information on the analysis of application of the Guideline, the nature and types of the violations recorded in the ‘service notepads’ and the actions taken by police officers.
On July 28, 2017 Hovh. Kocharyan, Chief of the RA Police Headquarters, stated in his reply that it was not expedient to analyze any other provisions of the Guideline, except for administrative offenses and crime cases.
“After the 2017 RA NA elections, the RA Police analyzed the offenses rather than application of the Guideline,” the reply of the Chief of the RA Police Headquarters reads.
Before, on May 29, 2017 HCA Vanadzor applied to the RA Police to get information on reports based on electoral violations in the period of RA NA elections.
In its reply to the inquiry, the RA Police stated that 223 out of the 754 reports received during the RA NA elections and after it were filed by police officers, but the only analysis of their records in their service notepads targeted the cases with elements of crime.
In fact, the RA Police approved and applies an important Guideline but the effectiveness of its application has not been assessed so far.
Can it be assumed that introduction and application of the Guideline was an election campaign action rather than a step aimed at improving the police activities?
Anyway, we believe that the RA Police will definitely address the issues raised by us and we are ready as on the day before the NA elections to take part in assessing the application of the Guidelines.