Custody Records: a new system to protect both citizens and police officers’ rights

February 11, 2022

This week, the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) went to the village of Vita Poshtova, in the outskirts of Kyiv, to attend the opening of a new training polygon in the National Academy of Internal Affairs (NAIA). A new facility financed by EUAM to train recruited cadets, police officers, and the academy personnel on a new system: the Custody Records software.

Used for apprehensions and temporary detention procedures, the Custody Records is an integrated system video recording all actions relating to detainees during their stay in police custody. This recording system will help to reduce the improper treatment of detainees, but also protect police officers from false allegations.

Since 2019, EUAM has provided financial and expert support to develop this new transparent police Custody Records system. The idea? Ensuring the detainees’ rights to protection and free legal aid by keeping an electronic register of their actions. From the moment of their apprehension until their release or transfer to a pre-trial detention centre (under the Ministry of Justice), the detainees remain under constant video surveillance.

In the vehicle used to transport, the video recording system is operational in all entrances and premises where the detained persons may go through. Even the authorised official who performs the apprehension is equipped with a body camera and laptop or tablets connected to the National Police internal network.

Already launched in many police stations across Ukraine through the EU-funded PRAVO Police programme, implemented by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in collaboration with EUAM, this new system brings the police custody’s human rights protection standards to a higher level. It also creates a mechanism for protecting police officers from possible wrongful allegations.

“Implementation of the Custody records system in police departments is one of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ priority projects”, noted Deputy Minister Kateryna Pavlichenko, present at the inauguration of the training polygon. “At the same time, the high-quality, practical training of cadets and students is important, who will later work with the system”.

On his side, Head of EUAM Antti Hartikainen underlined the benefits of installing the Custody Records: “The final goal is to increase the level of trust from the society to the police, by developing police transparency and accountability to the public.”

“Of course, no system can be operated without properly trained staff”, he added. “I hope that very soon our EUAM advisors, in cooperation with MOIA University instructors and NPU trainers, will use these new premises to share their EU human rights protection experience with police officers and cadets.”In partnership with the Ministry, EUAM will soon launch a new project to build similar training polygons in Odesa, Lviv and Mariupol State Universities of Internal Affairs, and install new Custody Records systems in police stations.