EUAM shares ways to build citizens’ trust with a new generation of police officers

September 10, 2020

Ethical standards, communication techniques, and basic principles of building citizens’ trust in law enforcement agencies were among the main topics of a webinar organised by the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) for police cadets of the Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs. The seminar was well-received by the future police officers, not least because the issue of trustful relationships between communities and law enforcement is on the top of the Ukrainian civilian security sector agenda.

Yuriy Mihalkov, EUAM Adviser and Community Policing Trainer from the Mission’s Kharkiv Field Office presented various active communication techniques, such as Verbal Judo – a practice of using verbal communication to prevent or end acts of physical violence and prevent the situation from escalating. This technique works by redirecting potential aggressors’ hostile energy towards themselves to make them perceptive the officer’s handling of the situation.

“As you are the future of the Ukrainian Police, it is vital to understand that people want to be treated with dignity and respect. We will rather be asked than told what to do”, said Yuriy Mihalkov. “Therefore, it is important for any police officer to listen. Citizens want to be told why and to be heard”.

These and other techniques presented during the webinar are all integral parts of a Community Policing approach, which centers around building mutual trust between the police and communities through direct interaction, dialogue, respect, and protection of human rights.

As Community Policing is a relatively new concept in Ukraine the EUAM is assisting the National Police of Ukraine (NPU) to make it a cornerstone of its police work. Ultimately, the objective is to change the culture of policing from being an instrument of the state to serving the people.