If any government had been replaced it always brought ad hoc and politically motivated changes. These changes are quite often and the main reason for the occupational stress and insecurity about their jobs among police officers, firefighters, rescuers and all workers in Ministry ot Interior. It has been said that ” … the main reason for the collapse of the system is that it must be depoliticizedbut is highly politicized. When the governmental shifts starts they are looking for gaps and even holes in the MoI which aim is certain superiors to be fired, but in the center of the gunfight are the regular workers – these who are working in the field. We are police officers, firefighters and rescuere of all people, not one or another political party. The political dependance of the superior executives is the reason all principles of good governance to be changed and the image and competence of the management to be ruined. The feeling of the employees is that recent years, the management staff’s recruitement is based not on the skills and knowledge, but on cpolitical protection. “There is a sort of aristocraty in the system- has been said – people in high positions, who are perceived as untouchable”. Overall feeling is that it makes no sense to have a political governing in de-politicized structures as the army and the police, because this method of governing is only delegitimize the Ministry of Interior as an institution and police officers as workers who are serving the people.”
* Study of the factors causing stress among employees in MoI in Bulgaria
When we are calling on 112?
When the situation requires URGENT intervention of the emergency services (fire brigade, police, emergency, civil protection) and a team have to be sent at the accident.
How to report a sygnal on phone 112?
1. As soon as you have contact with the operator on 112 you have to specify the village, city or town you are calling from. If you are not in village, city or town, you have to describe its geographical location by landmarks – roud, river, mountain etc.
2. Formulate briefly the reason for your call – whether it concerns medical incident or another – flood, fire, etc.
3. Listen carefully the questions of the operator and succinctly respond to them. If necessary, wait to be connected with the service – ambulance, police, fire and more. It is important to be known that this communication with an operator lasts between 1 to 3 min. During the conversation the most accurate information have to be provided about wthe intsident.
I have two children who were 4 and 7 years old when I applied for a job in the 112 Emergency line in Bulgaria. While I was passing all phases of the recruitment I worried and was sure I will not be approved for this position. I thought that my children are too small and it will be the cause for my rejection. I was not sure whether I am suitable for the job. I did not know if I’m good enough. I was worried because I did not know the system and what is the responsibility to work as an operator in 112 Emergency line. I was afraid because I knew that lives depend on the seconds in which you are judging and evaluating the severity of the situation. The lives of someone’s mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children depend on how quickly you are processing the signal. The lives who are depending on your judgment and professionalism. Today, nine years later, I am thankful to my husband, who saw the ad and gave me the courage by telling me that I will handle it. Today, I am thankful to my work as operator in 112 Emergency line, because I realized that life is much more valuable than I thought, and I contribute each day so many lives to be saved.
In 2015, 3168 people have left the Ministry of Interior.
More than 2/3 of them are working at field and are at operational positions.
From all employees quit the system 1 is a senior, 466 are managers, 688 of are at executive and 2013 are at junior executive positions.
444 employees (65%) of the 688 people on executive positions and 1345 junior executive position (67%) of total 2013 have ceased their legal relations with the Ministry of Interior in the period October to December 2015.
The number of resigned employees sharply increased in the last quarter of 2015. It is a result of the planned “reforms” in the Law on State Budget of the Republic of Bulgaria, provoked unprecedented association of the employees in the Security Sector and spontaneous protests in Bulgaria
At present part of the vacancies are advertised competitions, but due to the long process of selection and training, the deficit created in the Ministry of Interior will not be brought soon under control.
Much of the staff left the system is not only employees working in the field, but also experts who have years of experience. They are not able to pass on their experience. Their work is done by their colleagues who are repeatedly loaded and as a result – ineffective.
Currently it a new amending in the Law on the Interior Ministry is planning, but measures addressing this crisis, tools for improving of the quality of service “civil security” and convert the Interior into an effective institution are not discussed – on the contrary. The new Law is providing reduction of the social rights of the employees, an internal restructuring, creating a state-owned enterprise and the transformation of Fire Safety and Protection of Citizens in Agency, but no one answers the questions how this will enhance the quality of work in the Ministry of Interior and will make citizens more safety and secure?
We all, as citizens and taxpayers, must not only be interested in what happens in the Ministry of Interior, but also actively to participate in the process of its reforming.
We need to ask will these reforms make us feel safer?
Society and Safety Foundation is one of the few civil organizations in Bulgaria which puts as a priority on its activities the improvement of the “civil security” service provided by the Ministry of Interior, which is directly linked with the improvement of the quality of work and working conditions in the MoI’s system.
Regarding the Minister Buchvarova speaking at the press conference in the Council of Ministers on 13.01.2016 we are obliged to express our official statement.
Mrs Buchvarova, at the press conference on 13.01.2016 you said, quote:
“Therefore any further attemptс MoI to be criticized on this way – with insults, ridiculous allegations false information – typical “cop numbers” will be perceived as an attack on public and national security.”
Please explain on which point from art. 4 of the Act of the State Agency for National Security you relate the criticism to the Ministry of Interior.
You are absolutely right that “insults, ridiculous allegations, false information” can not serve as a constructive public dialogue on the subject, but only the court may classify the criticisms of the Ministry of Interior as such.
You have no legal right to do so.
In this sense, the position you express can be perceived as restricting freedom of speech, which is protected by Art. 39 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria. May or may not representatives of the media to criticize the Ministry of Interior? May or may not civil organizations to criticize the work of the Ministry?
In another part of your speech, you said:
“Reforms are on my computer. How can you comment on something you have not seen.”
The logical question comes, why the reforms stay on your computer and are not published for public discussion? At organised by us roundtable on 18 December 2015, we appealed for reform which takes into account the interests of citizens and ministry’s employees. We appealed for greater transparency in the management of MoI’s budget which is over 1 billion lev – all taxpayers’ money. The reform in the Ministry of Interior can be done only with broad public support and obvious action taken in the citizens’ interest. Don’t you support this position, Mrs. Buchvarova?
We would not focus superfluous attention to other parts of your statement that aren’t less questionable and are not meeting the legal framework of your position. We will notice that the Ministry of Interior cannot have “priority groups”, as it would be contrary to Art. 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.
Society and Safety Foundation does not accept the idea of unilateral decisions that affect the whole Bulgarian society. We openly oppose to any attempt for freedom of speech’s limitation and each reform the Ministry of Interior, which is not based on detailed research in the Ministry and after public debate on the issue.
And we say “Enough!”
Enough parceled reforms.
Enough savings to fill the budget for the next 12 months without long-term vision.
Enough reformes without at least elementary form of analysis within the ministry.
Foundation “Society and Security” calls for transparency and would support each initiative in this direction, but any reform that does not meet the needs of citizens and employees cannot receive our support.
The most important element of the whole process is institutionalized of forms and procedures for citizen participation in reforming the Ministry of Interior. The second crucial component is uniting around the need to prepare a long-term strategy to reform the Ministry of Interior, to be adopted as the Ministry of Interior and civil society organizations and the trade unions.
One of the biggest challenges is how to institutionalize citizen participation, without making structure cumbersome and inefficient. It is therefore necessary to set up an informal group of representatives of NGOs and professional organizations to clarify the parameters of functioning mechanisms for involving citizens and procedures for consultation with government representatives. In this period of advance planning is necessary activities and measures on the one hand to be provided to explore the expectations of citizens for the “security” and to hold public consultations and to what extent the Ministry of Interior can be reformed so that to meet public expectations. It is in the process of preparation and to provide mechanisms through which citizens can participate actively in the process of monitoring the activities of the Ministry of Interior and in making recommendations for improvement. In addition the components of active and broad citizen participation are necessary to provide institutionalized form of citizenship and have the necessary expertise. Therefore, it is necessary to attract two types of organizations: organizations with expertise on the topic “security”, MoI, civic participation and preparation of program documents, as well as organizations that have access to a wide range of citizens. This format will provide on the one hand the necessary expertise will enable the realization of activities on informing and consulting the public and will fill with meaning and content activities institutionalized form of citizenship.
One of the issues that should be discussed is whether such an institutionalized structure is better to be the Council of Ministers or the Ministry of Interior.
The reasons for this to be to the Ministry of Interior are related to the specifics of the activity of this structure, which requires consultation and debate on specific issues relating efficiency of the institution and the quality of provided service “security”. The functioning of institutionalized form of civic participation to the Interior Ministry will provide direct access and opportunity to work with experts of various departments in the Ministry, which will make the process more operational and flexible.
The arguments in favor of the institutionalization of such a structure to the Council of Ministers /CM/ are more – on the one hand, they are related to the need for reform vision and long-term development strategy of the Ministry of Interior be approved and confirmed by representatives of various ministries and agencies whose activities and policies will be directly or indirectly affected by the implementation of the reform in the Ministry. On the other hand, the constitution of this body to the Council of Ministers will ensure its independence from the Ministry of Interior. Representatives of other departments with rank minister or deputy minister, will facilitate the process of adopting the proposals at the level of CM and ensure the adoption of most of the recommendations of this authority. In the long term, the creation of such a structure to CM will allow expanding the scope of activity, interpretation of the “security” in much broader and synchronize visions for development and reform of the judiciary and defense.
Before proceeding with the preparation of long-term strategy the civic and professional organizations, and the representatives of legislative and executive power need to unite around a common vision for the Interior Ministry in the long run. The preparation of a common vision is associated with both study of the attitudes of the public and lobbying and consultations with government officials. The main issues that need to be discussed and be reached a consensual decision, before starting preparation of the strategy are:
The main issue which united representatives of trade unions, professional organizations and NGOs in terms of public order and security, is that the “security” service provided to citizens, is not effective and does not meet their needs. The discussion about the parameters and expectations of what should the service be has not taken place – as citizens, and with trade unions and professional organizations. Reasons for the lack of discussion about MoI are many but the main ones are:
That is why the police system becomes more rigid, more encapsulated and sacrifice more cruel its employees. This is happening on a background of permanent reduction of the quality of “security” service and increased number of unsatisfied from the MoI’s work citizens to whom is said they are complaining are reasonless and exist only because they do not understand “the complex matter of security.”
Rigidity of the system is due to many reasons, some of which are:
Ministry of Interior is the only unreformed Ministry in Bulgaria, but also one of the ministries in which structural changes are the most numerous. One of the major structural changes that contribute the MoI to become a mega-ministry is the closure of Ministry of Emergency Situations and merger it with the MoI /29.07.2009 /. This change is one of the main reasons the scope and functions of the police to be expanded and the number of the employees to be increased as well. The functions for civil protection as nonspecific for MoI, took a very large financial, human and time resources for establishment of a model which ensures that mechanically merged with the Ministry of Interior structures will begin to function as part of the whole Ministry. The stress of merge, which endured as officials closed the MES and MoI, the lack of clear rules of interaction, changed principles of operation and interaction between institutions is extremely large. Shortly before the “merger” of officials from the MES, the MoI- in 2007, was “released” from the National service “Security” and the “protection of the means of communication” and a State Agency “National Security” was established. As a result of structural changes to 2009., the number of MoI’s employees is nearly 68 000 people.
In the period 2009-2014 structural changes continued. In 2013, from the the structure of the Ministry of Interior were removed General Directorate “Combating Organized Crime”/CDCOC/ and Specialized and the “Operational technical operations”/SDOTO/. CDCOC became part of National agency “Security” and SDOTO became the State Agency “Technical Operations” to Council of Ministers. Alongside these structural changes, the names of regional units and departments were changed many times and the number of employees continued the trend for reduction and in 2014 employees in MoI was 49 500.
All these changes were made without the participation of citizens, without an assessment of their impact on the quality of services delivered by the Ministry of Interior, and especially without an assessment of their impact on the employees. This long-standing practice is one of the reasons MoI to become the (auto) oppressive, suspicious, dehumanized, formal and disengagement institution in which the prospect of long-term reform and involving citizens in its implementation is assessed as a threat that must be limited, not as an option which should be used.
Reforms that are realized at the time, as mentioned, are parceled and ineffective. Reforms in the Ministry of Interior needs to be long-term, have consulted with civil and professional organizations, to explain the effect of a change in the life of every citizen and employee in the Ministry of Interior, and are tailored to the needs of the citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria.
One of the most important reasons for the need for the involvement of trade unions in this process is the fact that reforming and optimizing the operation of each system is associated with a reduction in the number of employees and reduction of social rights. The main role of trade unions is the reform and streamlining of the activities of the Ministry of Interior does not happen at the expense of employees who are victims of realized until parceled and inefficient structural changes. Namely the trade unions are the ones who will make their contribution to the smooth transition and change in the way the Ministry of Interior, with regard to employees. On the other hand the trade union organizations will be those who will consult in advance the reform proposals will propose the adoption of programs for alternative employment for redundant workers and can take up a large part of the work of retraining, together with non-government organisations. Last but not least, the trade unions will have the responsibility to inform and “exhausting” incurred tension among employees.
To increase citizens’ awareness that the quality of security service depends on their actions and attitudes.
To create effective institutionalized model that ensures the participation of citizens in the reform of the Ministry of Interior and the institutions that provide the security service.
To change attitudes of citizens towards the Ministry of Interior officials and create a partnership based on a mutual trust.
To create social infrastructure at local, regional and national level, allowing communication and partnership between citizens, MoI officers and representatives of stakeholders for the preparation and monitoring of local strategies for security service.
To establish a successful model by which employees who have left the system in the Ministry of Interior to transmit and share their knowledge and skills.
Our mission is to transform the Ministry of Interior and to be a transparent and open institution which is taking into consideration the real needs of the citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria while is providing a high quality of security service.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SOCIETY AND SAFETY FOUNDATION?
The founders of the Society and Safety Foundation,
PERSUADED that the Bulgarian society needs a serious discussion and more information about security and safety issues, the role of law enforcement in the prevention and detection of crimes, the need to analyze and change our attitudes and behavior in different emergencies and our active participation in the process of decision-making and policy-making regarding our security and safety,
MOTIVATED by the need of employees in law enforcement institutions to be involved and to participate actively in civic initiatives and the need to increase their knowledge and skills to work with civil society,
BELIEVING that providing security and safety for all can be achieved mainly through more education, training and motivation of the people to participate and improve the security service,
UNDERSTANDING the security service as guaranteeing the rights, freedoms, security and welfare of all citizens, society and the state,
CONVINCED that in the definition of the “security” must be involved citizens, employees in the Security Sector, institutions and social service providers and the work for improvement of its quality to in partnership with them,
ASSUMING that not the state institutions, but civil society organizations have a leading role in this to make people active, to identify problems in the security sector and to request changes which will improve both- the Security Sector and every citizen’s protection,
RESOLVED to work to bring different sectors and social groups together, to increase security and safety of citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria and asking all who are sharing our ideals, to join our efforts,
It was founded the Society and Safety Foundation by Trade Union Federation of the Employees in the Ministry of Interior as organization in public interest.
On 23 and 24 April 2016 in Bansko, a workshop was held which aim was to determine a “Society and Safety” Foundation’s priorities until December 2017.
The workshop is financed by Trade Union Federation of the Employees in the Ministry of Interior and is a part of realisation of the project “MoI’s employees and the citizens – partnership for security”.
The workshop was attended by members of the Trade Union Federation of the Employees in the Ministry of Interior Ministry, representatives of non-governmental organizations the Foundation worked successfully last year with and the academic community.
The main challenge which was identified by the participants in the workshop was the administrative and organizational strengthening and development of the Foundation.
The priority areas for development and work by the end of 2017 are related to the improving of the employees in the Ministry of Interior’s image and increasing citizens’ confidence in them, working with children and young people and developing of a strategy for improving the quality of”security” service supported not only by political parties, but also employers, non-governmental organizations, academic community and state institutions.