From: Alice Taylor, Arjola Tafaj
Deputies Request Suspension of Police Vetting

Four Socialist Party MPs and one from the Parliamentary Opposition have requested the suspension of the police vetting process until the evaluation of the  Service for Internal Affairs and Complaints has been completed.

A draft law has been proposed which has also been signed by Security Commission Chairwoman Ermonela Felaj. They believe that the focus should be the vetting of the SIAC and then the state police after. The change in the law would also allow the relevant institutions to have time to conduct an in-depth analysis of the process and to provide solutions for problems identified by international partners in the field.

The process of vetting which began in December 2020 has only vetted 32 subjects so far.

A recent report from the Council of Europe GRECO said that the vetting process should be replaced by a regular assessment process that evaluates employee integrity at regular intervals. The current process, they said, is likely to result in a high number of qualified staff leaving the force, making the exercise of core police functions difficult. They also pointed out that the process did not adequately capture all integrity risks, leading to questions over fairness and integrity.

Other issues identified included the politicization of the Albanian police. This was an issue of concern to GRECO who said that measures need to be taken to increase the stability of those in top positions, irrespective of political changes in the country. In addition to this, middle management should be appointed by the General Director of the State Police, rather than the Minister of the Interior.

Another critical concern voiced in the evaluation was the practice of State Police receiving private donations and sponsorship, which if allowed, needs to be regulated to limit the risk of corruption and conflict of interest.