Society and Safety Foundation seeks to change the meaning and content of the concept of “security” and to raise the awareness of security as a basic need, which if not satisfied prevents personal development. Through our activities we want to encourage the citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria to participate actively in the process of reforming the Ministry of Interior and the definition of the security service and to identify institutions which are its suppliers.
The security is not only a basic human need, but also one of the deepest aspirations enshrined in us. Ambition and desire for safety when we are at work, in public or when we are at home. Security can be viewed a much broader: striving for financial security, security in terms of our life and health, the health of our relatives, our work, our social position.
THE “CIVIL SECURITY” SERVICE
At present, there is no clear definition of the scope of the “Security”, the formation of the main components and mechanism of interaction between the institutions which are responsible for the quality of this service. Common understanding of ‘security’ to prevent external aggression and maintain public order in the country, thus ensuring its usually identified with some of the functions of the state. In other words, the creation and maintenance of security can be defined as a common public good, service that is used by all and for it is characteristic absence of competition in consumption, which is why its implementation is financed with part of the taxes of the population (budget of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence). Moreover, her negatives of all the non-market sector – inability to accurately measure received and paid, the absence of competition, hence comparability and choice, and presumably low efficiency. Meanwhile, the “National Security Strategy” of the Republic of Bulgaria refers to “adapt to the changing security environment” which “imposes new prioritization of security policy, the inclusion of overall institutional potential of society, applying new forms of interaction between the state, business and NGOs, such as public-private partnership. ”
“Extending of the social scope of the security policy poses new challenges for institutional coordination horizontal and vertical hierarchical relations management. Planned pooling of resources of the security sector and change the definition of the “security” requires taking concrete action not only by individual institutions and structures of civil society, but also of every citizen, which is one of the largest chalenges- citizens to realize that the quality of the “security” is defined by their action or inaction.
To be the “security” adequate to the needs and expectations of citizens is first necessary to identify their expectations and understanding of what constitutes the “security” – something which, although developed strategies and other program documents in this field is not made. Lack of clarity about the expectations of citizens, creating the basic prerequisite for overall dissatisfaction with the “security” as:
Security as defined in the National Security Strategy is a broad and public order and security are only one of it’s components.
The main priorities of the National Security Strategy and defined as vital interests are: • ensuring the rights, freedoms, security and welfare of the citizens, society and the state;
So formulated priorities cover all socio-economic sectors and require coordinated and common efforts of all countries to promote the “security”, quality and possibilities for its optimization and implementation of subsequent monitoring and control by its users.
It is essential that the institutions and their structural units, the civil society and citizens to begin to act as integrated components of the national security system. To begin this process is necessary before this dialogue to take place and create a partnership between civil society organizations, the private sector, state and local institutions what suggests the “security” and how it can improve its quality.
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.
In 2015, 4,686,390 emergency calls are accepted and only 1,987,576 are real.
Who is responsible for the unreal signals received?
Who educates the citizens?
Who and how impose sanctions for the unreal signals?
Who measures the potential risk to the citizens? The debate on the reform of the Ministry of Interior includes the National System 112 and it’s time to talk about the responsibility that families and all institutions have for the unreal signals.
My father was a firefighter. I was seeing him at home tired and smelled of smoke after each shift. The smell of smoke is one of those you can not erase not only from yout skin, but mind. It is sealed in your mind on the same way how you can recognize the scent of people you love. After work, he set on the couch, hugged me and I interviewed him about the difficulties he encountered, but he never talked about them. He spoke about the rescued people and each time he told me that heroism is not measured in difficulties you overcome, but human lives you saved. Still there, on the couch, I decided I wanted to be a firefighter and to become a hero – same as my Dad.
“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! “
“Unlike many of my colleagues, no one in my family was not a policeman, but I made this choice, because of my father.
My father creates and sculpts figures and whole life is giving life to the tree. He wanted to see peculiar for his work – he wanted his son to keep, what he and those around him were created and principles that were followed by him so many years. My father wanted to see her son in uniform, because he believed to keep people is the duty of every person, and through he was going to fulfill our family debt to society.
My father wanted I to become a policeman, not only because for him it was a great honor, but because he believes that to keep and cherish the security of the homeland is a duty. In the day when I put the uniform for the first time I felt how heavy is the responsibility I took, but I felt also pride which filled my lungs.
Pride, caused by the duty that you have and the principles you follow.
Pride, which I am feeling each time when I see a person on whom I helped and the pride that I am seeing in the eyes of their relatives.
Pride, born of love for the profession, because for me to be a policeman means to live with dignity, honor and to keep helping people.
Pride, born by choice I’d make as a sign of love – from son to the father, which became the one and only right choice for me. ”
Photo: Antonio Hadjihristov
Quite offten we can see firefighters who are fighting the firestorm and stand against it alone, but surounded by at least two or three fire trucks.
Have you ever wondered what is due to the fact that the number of firefighters is equal to the number of firefighting vehicles?
The one reason is that firefighters are few and insufficient.
The other reason is much more terrible and caused by regulatory gaps and the lack of a defined minimum number of firefighters in the team. The acceptance of a minimum number of firefighters in the team is postponed till August 2017.
In this same regulation it is precised that in indoor’ accidents, the team of firefighter and driver / most common practice / must wait for another team before entering the burning building. This puts the first team /firefighter and the driver/ in in deadlock: to get help to the victims or to wait for help, about 15-20 minutes in the big cities and much longer in small where help can come only from the distanced towns. The exception rather than practice is three or four firefighters to be on shift and this is the number of all firefighters on shift in some major cities.
In small towns the situation is much worse.
The next time you see firefighters standing in front of a burning building who are not entering to extinguish the fire, please do not be angry at them, but the system which allows this to happen.
The next time when you hear about the injured firefighter, remember that very often it happened, because at the signal responded two firefighters – one entered alone in the burning building, because other had to stand outside and to ensure him a water. There is not a third.
Photographer: Silva Toneva
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.
“My husband was forced to learn how to cope alone with stress at the workplace. He did it, because it was the only way to protect us. He did it, because what he knows and happens to him, not only would frightened us, but terrified. Very often I feel the strain of the last day and I know that he was afraid not for himself, but for us. I realized how scared he was few weeks ago when he proposed us to enroll for a course of self-defense. I did not ask questions. I knew that the only way to make him feel comfortable and tranquil for us. ”
In the first part of the series “The person behind the uniform” we are introducing you Ivo – a firefighter in Varna, beloved husband and father. The series will meet you with law enforcement officers across the country.
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.
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.