16 June 2010
A need for more police officers following Novobërdë/Novo Brdo’s territorial expansion in the decentralization reforms, which began in late 2009, and for greater cooperation between Novobërdë/Novo Brdo’s Police Station and the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Pristina, were the two main concerns Yves de Kermabon, Head of EULEX, identified during a field trip to Novobërdë/Novo Brdo on 15 June.
His visits included the Novobërdë/Novo Brdo police station and the Mayor’s office.
During a meeting with Boban Todorovic, Novobërdë/Novo Brdo Police Station (P.S.) Commander, Todorovic said he needed more police officers as his municipality had expanded geographically following the decentralization reforms which started after the November 2009 municipal elections. Novobërdë/Novo Brdo gained 10 villages from Gjilan/Gnjilane and 5 from Kamenicë/a, its territory grew from 92 sq. m. to 205 sq km, its population from 4,000 to 14,000.
Currently Novobërdë/Novo Brdo police stations has 30 police officers and 5 civilian employees. The new reorganization plan envisages 55 officers and 10-11 civilians. “We forwarded this plan to the Kosovo Police chief of command and hope to have a response soon,” explains William Clark, Chief Police Station Advisor, EULEX Strengthening Department.
Todorovic explained that it was not a question of hiring new police officers, but of reassigning officers stationed in villages transferred from Gjilan/Gnjilane or Kamenicë/a, as the decentralization reforms had still not reached the police who still maintained their old organizational boundaries.
Todorovic went on to praise daily cooperation with his EULEX Police counterparts, and also said community policing was successful: “People come and report crimes.” As a follow up Mr. de Kermabon asked if police cases were rapidly resolved. Todorovic said that unfortunately since cases, largely property-related, had to be sent to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Pristina, their resolution took time.
According to Todorovic: “Cooperation with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Pristina is difficult because our P.S. belongs to Gjilan/Gnjilane but all criminal offices need to be reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Pristina.” In the 80s when Novobërdë/Novo Brdo was transferred from Pristina Municipality to Gjilan/Gnjilane, the court’s jurisdiction never changed, hence the current problem.
During his visit to Bajrush Ymeri, Mayor of Novobërdë/Novo Brdo and his senior team, Mr. de Kermabon continued the conversation about justice. Ymeri noted that the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Pristina had a large backlog of cases, which was a problem when cases from his municipality were transferred there. Mr. de Kermabon said he would take the matter up with the Minister of the Interior and Minister of Justice.