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Minister announces 'biggest reform of Police Corps for decades'

The leadership of the Slovak Police Corps wants to fight crime and reduce traffic accidents by changing the methods used to assess police officers, Police Corps President Jaroslav Spišiak announced at a press conference on Thursday, January 13.

The leadership of the Slovak Police Corps wants to fight crime and reduce traffic accidents by changing the methods used to assess police officers, Police Corps President Jaroslav Spišiak announced at a press conference on Thursday, January 13.

Spišiak said the new system being introduced to manage the police force is historic and hopes that it will motivate police officers to work more effectively, since the quality of their performance will now directly influence the level of their salary and career advancement.

"We're going to launch the biggest reform of the Police Corps for the past few decades. The aim is to increase the credibility [of the police]," said Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic, as quoted by the TASR newswire. According to him, the Slovak police don't enjoy much credit or confidence among the public, and certainly less than in neighbouring countries. The changes have been inspired by the system that exists in Great Britain, he added.

Spišiak said that he tested the system when he headed the district police department in Dunajská Streda (Trnava Region) at a time when organised crime was flourishing. According to him, officers didn't like his changes, but their results improved rapidly within a short time. The basic principle of the new method is that police officers who work effectively will receive more money than those whose performance isn't satisfactory.

As his first example, Spišiak focused on the traffic police. These officers have until now been assessed according to the numbers of fines they impose and how many driving licences they seize. The new system will make the number of accidents the main criterion for assessing the quality of their work. Each police officer will be responsible for a given area and will be expected to do everything possible to prevent accidents within it. A similar system will be applied to other police divisions as well, with the rules tailored for each.

Police officers will be briefly assessed every month, and quarterly appraisals will affect their salaries. Individual employees can also be assessed as lacking competence for their job and can be transferred to other departments if their results are poor. Monthly knowledge tests will be introduced and positive or negative reactions from the public to individual police officers will also be taken into consideration.

"If more than half of my direct subordinates are assessed as unsatisfactory or if we don't meet the goals that I'm setting now, I'll resign and leave the Police Corps," said Spišiak. Head of the police trade union Miroslav Litva welcomed Spišiak's initiative. "I believe that this system will motivate police officers to work and will show what the real situation in the Police Corps is," he said.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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