GOVERNMENT Proxy for Roma Communities Peter Pollák is in favour of mandatory video recordings of all police crackdowns in order to prevent doubts over the appropriateness in the use of force in the future, the TASR newswire reported on January 10.

“We’re for introducing a mandatory requirement of having all interventions of security forces recorded on an audio-visual tapes,” Pollák said, as quoted by TASR. “In this way, we’ll ensure that crackdowns are justified and stave off any needless doubts and debates about whether or not they're appropriate.”

The Government Proxy is glad to hear that the General Prosecutor’s Office is once again dealing with the police crackdown at the socially excluded Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou on June 19.

Recently, ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová attempted to report her opinion about the raid to the government cabinet, but she wasn’t given the opportunity to speak out. Dubovcová believes the raid was not justified, while Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák defends the raid.

Dubovcová claimed in the report that the police breached several regulations when conducting the operation at the settlement, during which several inhabitants were injured and had to seek medical help. The ombudswoman also challenged the objectivity of the probe into the police raid launched by an Interior Ministry investigation team, arguing that the police did not even speak to the inhabitants of the settlement, basing their investigation only on the testimonies of the police officers that carried out the action. The investigation concluded that the operation was a standard one.

Prime Minister Robert Fico spoke about the matter on the talk show of the public-service radio on January 11, where he said that despite the high crime rate among the Roma, every time the police carry out an action in the community, they always have to face fierce criticism from the media, NGOs and most recently also from Dubovcová. Fico emphasised that even though there are no official statistics on the ethnicity of people serving sentences in Slovak jails, it is known that one in two prisoners is of Roma origin, TASR reported.

"If somebody violates the law, steals and isn't able to maintain even basic order, legal means of pressure in the form of coercive measures need to be exercised," Fico said, supporting the interior minister’s position.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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