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  • Informal Economic Activity of the police in the transformation countries and path for the reform of a criminal justice system

Informal Economic Activity of the police in the transformation countries and path for the reform of a criminal justice system

Priority areas of development: sociology
2017
Department: Laboratory for Sociological Analysis
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research: The analysis of the police-public cooperation and the development of the methodology of its application at the precinct level

Methodology: Questionnaire survey, interview, experimental methods, data of the budget statistics of the Ministry of Interior

Empirical base of research: Sociological survey of 1850 police officers in Russia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Latvia; 34 interviews with the police officers and civilians; Data of the budget statistics of the Ministry of Interior, 2004-2015

Results of research:

The comparative analysis of the effectiveness of various criminal justice systems has shown that the countries in transformation can be divided into three groups according to this indicator. In the first, the resources available to the police, the courts and the prison system, are rather low, while the level of socio-economic development is average. The public in these countries trusts the police more than in other clusters. In the second cluster are included countries with extremely low levels of resource effectiveness and low confidence in the courts but with high level of police confidence. In the third cluster, which includes Russia, there is a relatively high level of resource effectiveness and socio-economic development in general; however, police confidence is extremely low, and trust in the courts and the criminal justice system as a whole is at the average level.

Summarizing the analysis of international experience, we can conclude that, although Russia does not have the conditions for a full-fledged introduction of a community policing system in the short term, there are certain opportunities for the gradual development of cooperation between the population and the police. The evidence of that is the favorable attitude of Russian police officers to development of police-public cooperation. So, according to the survey conducted earlier (2011) among 450 Russian police officers, carried out by the authors, answering the question "Do you think, is it necessary to establish closer relations between the residents of your district and local police bodies to maintain public order?" 49% of the interviewed officers answered "Yes", 44% - "More likely yes than no", 3% - "More likely no than yes" and 1% "No".

The public evaluation of the police is one of the key areas in the development of cooperation between the population and the police. To a large extent, such an assessment is formed on the basis of the results of interactions between citizens and precincts, since the overwhelming number of citizens' appeals to the police is related to the sphere of activity of local police officers. Therefore, the development of methods for applying new forms and methods police accountability is reasonable firstly at the precinct level because at this level people have the first-hand experience in police-public encounters.

In the course of the study, it was found that, since at the moment the police profession cannot only be called a masculine (in the Vologda region the percentage of women in the police exceeds the threshold of 30 percent), women in the police feel "normal", their work, in the majority cases, does not contradict their female self-identity.

However, this is related to two "normalizing" phenomena - the first, many women are concentrated on "supporting" posts, not involving, above all, "dangerous" work in the street, directly related to contact with outlaws.

Secondly, those women who are on the "dangerous" job, which continues to be considered as "masculine", explain that fact by family traditions and/ or difficulties in finding a more suitable job for women in the region.

According to the study, it can be concluded that the mass protests in December 2011, although not a reason for the growth of budgetary expenditures for policing, contributed not only to political justification for such growth, which was not previously considered as necessary, but also to consolidate these expenditures in subsequent budget cycles.

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The outcomes of the project can be applied by the Ministry of Interior for the development of the police-public cooperation at the precinct level.