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.
“I am a father and teach my son to be proud of and respect not only me as a police officer, but to respect the all people in uniforms. I teach him to respect not only the police, firefighters and rescuers, but also doctors, teachers, lawyers, judges, welders, drivers in public transport and all people, because we are part of a common society and a country – Bulgaria, and whether we honor and respect the work ot all these people depends in what country we will live in. ”
“I am a mother and my daughter is very proud that I’m a police woman. She knows that I look out not only for her safety and security, but also for her friends in kindergarten. What she doesn’t known is that I am dreaming for the day when the system will be changed and it will not be so bureaucratic. She doesn’t know I am dreaming of the day when not only my family but all citizens will be proud of their police. I believe that day will come. ”
“Do you know, we all Bulgarians, are sad people. We taunt the police, sing humiliating songs about police officers, spit it out and caricature the system, and when we are in trouble precisely the police officer is the only one who can help and immediately we are changing the attitudes and from “crucify him/her/” it is chanted again on “hosanna” while he/she – the humiliated, just wants to be useful and to help.
The saddest thing is that I feel proud of my profession only when people are suffering. The pride and the suffer in our case are synonymous. People think about you as professional, honour, and person called to serve only when there are casualties and are scared.
I’d like people to give me some bragging rights in the better days when they feel safe and secure, because these are days I work for. I want to be proud of my job in those days, when the pain and suffering are the exception rather than rule.
Do you know, some time ago this situation was cynical, but now it is sad and hopeless. It is sad, that people recognize me as a police officer only if they suffer. And it’s not just sad… it is lonely as well! “
Each day is different. There are days I’d been shouted. Days when people fainted in my arms. Days when my stripes had been torn and people spat in my face. Days, I’ve heard and seen how the life vanished.
Days like these are not uncommon, but are quickly forgotten, because are followed by the other days. Days like today, when the people robbed grandfather Dancho have been revealed. Days which we cannot forget, because the tearful elderly man brought us, as his gratitude, a basket with apples and told us “Thank you, guys. Thank you, you’ve been here…”.
There are also the other days and they are the worst – days that you know you cannot help and you are powerless. Days when you wished you could prevent a crime or incident. Days that you want the institution you work in is not so unwieldy. Days when you are praying on behalf of the victims’ relatives to survive and justice to prevail. Days in which your are furious and angry. Days you are asking yourself whether it makes sense and do you have the strength to keep doing your job.
In those days, three things are keeping you to move forward: the love you have to the profession, the colleagues and people like grandfather Dancho.
With gratitude to my colleagues and grandfather Dancho
One official at the Ministry of Interior
Terrorism threatens a society by instilling fear and helplessness in its citizens. It seeks to hold a society or government hostage by fear of destruction and harm.
When terrorist acts occur, people generally look for ways to cope with the acute stress and trauma. Terrorism evokes a fundamental fear of helplessness. The violent actions are random, unprovoked and intentional, and often are targeted at defenseless citizens. Trying to cope with the irrational information that is beyond normal comprehension can set off a chain of psychological events culminating in feelings of fear, helplessness, vulnerability and grief.
Xenophobia — fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners — can be heightened under a terrorist threat and can become a social and psychological danger. The fear generated by terrorism can be exacerbated by a population’s diversity if there is distrust between groups, categories and classification of citizens. It is important to recognize that diversity in a population can be an opportunity for unity and strength. There are members of our diverse society who have experienced past terrorist incidents. The knowledge and experience they have gained from surviving and coping with these incidents can make them a valuable resource on how to cope and how to offer assistance to others.
After a terrorist attack, many people are impacted. People who have experienced the trauma often fall into the following categories:
People who have experienced or witnessed a terrorist attack may go into a state of acute stress reaction. You may feel one or all of these symptoms:
If you are having trouble coping with the terrorist attacks, consider seeking help from a psychologist or other mental health professional. There are many ways to feel traumatized by terrorist incidents. Psychologists and other licensed mental health professionals are trained to help people cope and take positive steps toward managing their feelings and behaviors.
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.
Iliya Kuzmanov was born in 1967 in Sofia. He graduated in “Georgi Sava Rakovski” high school and the “Asen Zlatarov” university in Sofia in 1994.
He is working in the Ministry fo Interior since February 1997.
He worked in 07-th and 1-st Police departnment in Sofia and he is currently a head of “Combating crimes”group in the 05-th Police department in Sofia.
Iliya Kuzmanov can be described as a person with M. Kassimova’s quote: “… Because the heaviest part of the complaint and murmur as processes is their correlation with us.
To complain is the first step, logically followed by the desire “to dare”.
Once you dare the fight comes, then the two choices are possible – to win or to be defeated.
And, as you know, somehow we’re not OK to be a part of the team of losers – it is better to play in the team of the passive knowing people – so at the same time we are doing nothing and avoiding the possibilities to do something wrong, while we are continuing to complain.”
But Iliya continues and says “I am confident that at the end of the tunnel there is light and as we are often joking, it is not from the oncoming train … The light we strive … The light that inevitably will be reached … as long as we do not stop to desire it and to do it … to dare … to avoid and to not become a full-time/permanent players in the the passive knowing people’s team! ”
You can contact Mr. Iliya Kuzmanov at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.