Implementation of the second cycle of the program of cooperation between the Swedish and Serbian police in the period from 2016 to 2018 is in progress, aimed at contributing to the further development of the police of Serbia into the police service that meets the needs of the citizens of Serbia and which is in line with the best European standards in terms of the highest values and method of work.
The program is financed by the Swedish government in accordance with foreign policy “Equality between women and men is a fundamental aim of Swedish foreign policy. Ensuring that women and girls can enjoy their fundamental human rights is both an obligation within the framework of our international commitments and a prerequisite for reaching Sweden’s broader foreign policy goals on peace, and security and sustainable development.”
The focus for Swedish assistance and support is: the development of the gender agenda in the MoI, the development of strategic planning within the MoI with the focus on EU integration, the development of forensic work and the investigation with a focus on gender-based violence and implementation of the concept of a Intelligence led Policing (ILP) for the Serbian police.
The effectiveness of the implementation of the gender component within the projects of the previous programming cycle of the Swedish Reform Process in the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia / 2012-2014/ was a good starting point for further planning of activities on the implementation of gender equality policy in the work of the police of Serbia, with basis for training and capacity building of an individual to be translated into actual policy changes and institution building in that direction.
Therefore, in the new program cycle / 2016-2018 /, which is in the process, through the Project "Development of a Gender Agenda in the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia", a much higher and more concrete goal has been set - to move from a strategic approach to gender issues to a concrete, practical and measurable policy implementation gender equality, which presupposes the removal of factual and formal obstacles for greater involvement and retention of women in police jobs.
Activities under this Project are also directed towards the removal of informal obstacles and barriers that arise from organizational culture both through working with managers and leaders in the police, and through networking and empowerment of women in the police - by forming an association / network of women in the police and implementing various programs of support, communication, education with the aim of raising the professional capacities of women for performing police tasks.
Max Lutteman, manager of Swedish support program, says Gender Equality is the key to democratic police around the world. Democratic countries believe that there should be equal rights between men and women. I believe, and modern research shows that promoting and improving gender equality makes all organizations more effective, more sustainable and more responsible. And for a police organization, which protects and serves the society and its citizens, this is crucial and essential. A democratic Police organization needs to mirror the society so that they: use all available skills (it is 50 percent of each gender in society), receive information in order to successfully prevent and investigate crimes and reach all groups and ethnicity in society, thus creating security and trust in the police of all citizens.
The overall objective for all democratic Police organizations is to increase the number of women within the Police, to increase the number of women on managerial positions, achieve non-discrimination and to reduce the salary gap between men and women, concludes Lutteman.
Tatjana Vasic, Project Manager, "Development of a Gender Agenda in the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia" at the Swedish Police Office, emphasizes that the project is focused on recognizing, removing and reducing existing, identified obstacles that disproportionately burden the participation and advancement of women in the police, both formal obstacles, those arising from a professional culture or an adopted system of values, stereotypes, prejudices.
The project is the result of recognizing the need and determination of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic Serbia to integrate gender equality policies systematically, instead of introducing ad hoc and partial solutions, by integrating gender equality policies by providing equal opportunities for women and men in the police.
"Considering that gender discrimination, including sexual harassment at work, is one of the main obstacles to women's retention in police affairs, the design of new ones or the improvement of existing structures and procedures to ensure prevention and effective protection and response to these forms discrimination that disproportionately affects women in relation to men in the police, is one of the expected outcomes of this Project, which should support the achievement of the overall goal" stated Tatjana Vasic.
"The expected effects of the implementation of the project and the integration of all planned activities and measures are the functioning, behavior and treatment of each individual in the police organization in a way that respects and implements a policy of equal opportunities for all employees and managers and thus creates a non-discriminatory work environment, employees in the field of development and in line with the possibilities and abilities to develop their own personal and professional capacities. Providing equal opportunities to everyone and respect for equality and for diversity will ensure the reduction of gender disproportion within the police and lead to the creation of a service that will reflect the society to which it serves and contribute to more effective police work that recognizes and responds adequately to the various security challenges that some parts of population are more exposed to "concludes Tatjana Vasic.
As the implementation of the project looks from the MUP perspective, we talked with Gordana Vukovic, assistant to Head of Human resources Sector, a leader of the implementation team.
"Until 15 years ago, the Ministry of Interior was perceived as an environment where it was assumed that the work of a policeman was almost exclusively predestined to a person of the male sex, and that physical activity was one of the crucial factors and that there was not much space for women. However, if we look at the most modern police in the world, we will see that many security challenges require more significant involvement of women in the operational structure of the police, and that a balanced relationship is actually much more desirable for a police force whose goal is to protect and serve citizens.
During 2016, a comprehensive research on gender equality issues and the position of women in the operational composition of the police was conducted in order to detect constraints and eliminate barriers to the advancement and career development of police officers. It turned out that women make an absolute majority of employees in administrative work, and the opposite is the minority in operative tasks that imply the use of police powers, then they are insufficient in managerial positions, and that (at that moment) MUP was not an incentive environment for professional training of police officers, which depended on the ability of their managers to be recognized and sent, for example, on training”, explains Gordana Vukovic.
Thanks to the support of the strategic leadership in the Ministry of Interior, a number of activities were introduced to familiarize employees with the principles of gender equality and the need to introduce certain affirmative measures through the human resource management system.
"One of the most significant results, in January, was adopted ''Guidelines for the implementation of measures for gender mainstreaming in the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia through the human resource management system”. It is a document that addresses multiple areas, such as strategies, policies and human resources management, planning a desirable employee structure, recruitment and selection, training, career advancement, and so on. For each area, measures are foreseen to contribute to the achievement of objectives, with clearly defined bearers and deadlines in which they are applied. Gordana Vukovic points out, "We are also in the process of drafting a document that will deal with prevention and protection against discrimination, and the first in a series of trainings of 6 senior executives from the work of the Directorate of Police in the process of intensifying gender sensitivity and help them to be leaders who will manage the principles of equal opportunities in organizational units. It is a representative and prestigious Gender Coaching Program, according to a model implemented by the Swedish police, which is a partner at an enviable level with regard to this topic. The goal of this activity is that managers are empowered and ready to deal with the issue of gender equality as important agents of change in our ministry ", concludes Gordana Vuković.
One of the key activities expected during the implementation of the Project is the establishment of a Women's Network in the Police. What kind of organization is it and what is its mission and vision explains to us Dragana Raković, one of the founders of the Women's Network in the Police: "The network of women in the police will be an independent, voluntary and non-political Association of women Police Officers of the Ministry of Interior. It will be form on the principles of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia that supports the values by which each woman has the opportunity to realize her potential and thus contribute to the efficient functioning of the Ministry with full respect for diversity and non-discrimination through preventive work and adequate response to such phenomena.
Through the Women's Network, the role, position and importance of women in the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia should be confirmed. This will be achieved through: raising the awareness of employees in the MoI, promoting gender-based perspectives in work; education on gender issues; empowering to perform all tasks and career advancement through mentoring, training and promotion of work results as well as providing advice to women employees in the Ministry dealing with discrimination issues.
In addition to the aforementioned activities of internal character, the Women's Network in the Police will also have a different role, that will be, through cooperation with competent institutions and organizations, non-governmental and international organizations, will work on improving the safety of women in society.
Marina Ranković, a woman employed in the Intervention Unit, says: "When I feel that on the other side there are no prejudices and attitudes without basics, but exclusively evaluation and treatment towards me based on what I am and what I demonstrated with my efforts and by my work, then I feel comfortable and proud I have such colleagues. In that case, mutual cooperation is at a very high level and I am glad when I know that I can always rely on such colleagues - good teamwork is then guaranteed. "
Regarding the improvement of the position of women in the police, I believe that with organized professional training, practical and theoretical training for each type of work within the Ministry of Interior, with the encouragement of women to apply for the competition both for the work of the executor and in the management positions, timely notification about all the possibilities, a large number of women would be devoted to showing their qualities and abilities they possess, as well as the will to work on personal training that would later have great benefits for the service. Providing equal opportunities, when it comes to dealing with police matters, is a key to me that will contribute to the eradication of prejudice and division into men's and women's jobs", concludes Marina.