Safer Communities – EUAM supports Community Policing in Odesa

November 08, 2022

Community policing defines collaborative partnerships between a law enforcement agency such as the local police and the individuals and organisations they serve to develop solutions to security problems and increase trust in police. 

On 4 November 2022, the roundtable on community policing took place at the Odesa State University of Internal Affairs. The participants discussed the Community Policing implementation process in Odesa region and new ideas for its improvement. Among the participants were the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM), the Head of the National Police of Odesa region, the rector of the University, and the representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“Dealing with safety and security community concerns is not a job only for police. It is a job that has to be addressed in partnership and through the dialogue of police and community,” said Georgios Pokas, EUAM Acting Head of Field Office Odesa, describing the main idea of the Community Policing concept. He highlighted EUAM’s ongoing support of the Ukrainian counterparts on their way to reaching a better public trust level.

Community Policing a crucial method for police officers

The Odesa and Kharkiv State Universities of Internal Affairs representatives described the Community Policing Curricula, and the latest innovations. Afterwards, the roundtable participants discussed how to improve the educational process of future police officers.

Dmytro Shvets, the rector of Odesa University, talked about the joint initiatives of the EUAM and Odesa University, highlighting the importance of EU experience and practical knowledge for future police officers. “The largest project we have now aims to develop cadets’ mediation skills. It will help them to perform better conflict management while on duty”. 

Territorial Community Policing Officer: agent of change on the ground

Among other topics, the participants exchanged the experience of the “Community Police Officer” project implementation launched in 2019. Under the project, the community gets a police officer who becomes a part of the community, understands the public needs and security problems, and helps to solve them.

Neculai Oprea, EUAM Adviser on Community Policing, mentioned that the EUAM already cooperates with the community police officers in Odesa region. He shared the Mission’s plans on Citizen Advisory Groups launch – the specialised venues for representatives of different community components to communicate, discuss, collaborate, and coordinate security issues and look for solutions. “This tool has proved very effective in community policing in many countries. And I am sure it will have the same success in Ukraine,” said Neculai Oprea.

Community Policing is a key priority for Odesa region

“Being a basic principle for NPU, community policing is, was and will be a priority for us. Over the years, we have been implementing many community policing projects in close cooperation with the EUAM and other international partners,” – said Mykola Semenishyn, Head of NPU in Odesa region. 

The fruitful cooperation of EUAM, NPU and the Odesa State University on community policing issues will stay a priority despite the challenges caused by ongoing military aggression. Joint efforts and the proactive approach of the involved parties have already brought visible results to the communities in Ukraine.

The EUAM welcomes the initiative of regular practical and scientific discussions on community policing with all the parties involved in ensuring civilian protection in Odesa region.