Stop Corruption Foundation: Police Manipulating Crime Statistics

(Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 4 (TASR) – Manipulation of crime statistics in order to make the police appear as successful in finding perpetrators of serious crimes and forced returns to the civilian life of some officers by their politically nominated superiors were among the main complaints by 16 anonymous police officers interviewed by the Stop Corruption Foundation and Trend weekly magazine.

Stop Corruption Foundation’s Pavel Sibyla at a press conference on Wednesday also pointed out that the police are suffering from fluctuation, as it’s difficult to find replacement for retired investigators, partly also due to low starting salaries.

All 16 officers, two-thirds of whom are still with the police, told the interviewers that they can’t imagine that it could be viable to prosecute a bigwig in the current situation.

“We attempted to select officers that we viewed as trustworthy and the interviews were really in-depth. They took up to several hours and we present only things that all of them concurred on,” said Sibyla.

Providing some details on the manipulation of crime statistics, Sibyla cited a theft of a wooden box containing apples by some youths who were arrested after the crime.

Nonetheless, the police ranked the crime as burglary, pointing out that the youths needed to crawl through a fence to be able to get possession of the booty.

Conversely, a case involving a homeless man who was found dead with a cut throat was ranked as an accident, as the officers knew that it would be next to impossible to find the murderer.

According to Sibyla, many officers practice self-censorship and keep away from politically sensitive cases. At the same time it’s possible for politically nominated superiors to distribute sensitive cases to specific investigators.

“A superior has a person at their department who have 90 percent of their cases dropped because they’re idle to collect evidence, lack the necessary skills or just know well what the desirable outcome is,” said Sibyla, citing one of the interviewed officers, who didn’t show particular trust to the Interior Ministry’s internal affairs inspectorate, either.

New Interior Minister Tomas Drucker (a Smer-SD nominee) on Wednesday stated that he’s asked the Police Corps Presidium to take a stance on the allegations.

The Police Corps’ department of communication and crime prevention described the report as untrue, misleading and representing a targeted attack on the police.

“It’s false and misleading the public in order to damage the positive results and activities of the Police Corps. These attacks have been put together in the context of efforts to have Police Corps President Tibor Gaspar dismissed,” stated the communication department, stressing that the police can’t manipulate the number of traffic accidents, thefts, murders and other crimes.