Recruitment of police officers sparks ethnic debates

Recruitment of police officers sparks ethnic debates

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, October 21, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

Representation of Albanians in the Ministry of Interior and the police force in the country is still a problem that sparks ethnic debates. This debate has been recently sparked with yesterday’s announcement of a contest for the recruitment of 400 police officers. Minister of Interior Affairs, Gordana Jankulovska said that the quota for the representation of Albanians in the police force is ready and that work will be done for the representation of other communities too.

On the other hand, the Albanian party in power BDI (Democratic Union for Integration) has demanded for more Albanian candidates to be admitted in this contest, in order to increase the number of the representation of Albanians in the Ministry of Interior.

Minister Jankulovska said that so far, the representation of Albanians in this ministry amounts to 19%.

The vice minister of Interior, Zemri Qamili says that the last contests must take into consideration the representation of as many Albanians as possible, in order to increase the quota by 26%. “We’re working in order to increase representation and meet the number required by Constitution. While on a general level, the percentage of Albanians at the Ministry of Interior is 19 or 20%, in some units, mainly special forces, the number of the members of Albanian community is symbolic”, said vice minister Qamili.

The Ombudsman office launches criticism about the way that contests are being held, as in the majority of cases, Macedonian candidates are admitted and this prevents the increase of the number of the representation of Albanians. The head of the Ombudsman office, Idzet Memeti, told IBNA that in the recent years, the representation of Albanians in the police force has only been 1%.

“The number of Albanians in this ministry has seen a symbolic increase. The government must be engaged even more in order for the professional police structure to have representatives of the Albanian ethnicity, but other ethnic groups too. The numbers indicate that that a fair representation cannot be achieved with the next contest, but I appeal and demand for the growing trend to continue”, said Memeti.

Experts of security affairs have also been involved in the debate.

Professor Vladimir Pivovarov says that this contest must take into consideration the formation of the candidates and not their party affiliation. “This way of holding contests is damaging, because such contests only admit uneducated people in specific posts at the Ministry of Interior. We cannot expect fight against crime with people who do not have the necessary education or professional preparation”, said Pivovarov.

Ministry of Interior in FYROM counts over 11 thousand police officers, out of which, around 2 thousand belong to the Albanian community. According to the obligations stemming from the Ohrid Agreement, which has been incorporated in the Constitution of the Country, the representation of Albanians in the police force must reflect the percentage of Albanian population in the country, which is over 26%. The Ohrid Agreement should have finalized this obligation since 2004, but the delays caused by different governments has not permitted this and has led to ethnic debates in the country. /ibna/