Elite Kosovo Police Units Protest for Improved Working Conditions

Vudi Xhymshiti

Imer Zeqiri, head of the Kosovo Police Union, speaks at the press during a demonstration outside the government building in Pristina, Kosovo on Saturday, Dec 9, 2023, voicing their dissatisfaction with the government’s suggested adjustments to allowances, salaries, and risk pay for the year. (VX Photo/ Vudi Xhymshiti)

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Elite units of the Kosovo Police staged a second protest in less than a month outside the Government building in Prishtinë on Saturday, calling for overall improvements in working conditions and outlining a series of demands.

Imer Zeqiri, the head of the Police Union of Kosovo, expressed that the police’s requests encompass general improvements to working conditions, including uniforms, work equipment, logistics, and police facilities. He emphasised that some police facilities, vehicles, and essential equipment fall short of meeting minimal job requirements.

Participating in the protest were members of the Special Intervention Unit and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit, who had also protested on November 1.

Zeqiri stated that the protest aimed to present the demands of all police personnel, both those present and those actively performing official duties. The Police Union submitted a petition to the Kosovo Assembly with approximately 5,700 signatures, addressing the dissatisfactions of police members, but they have yet to receive a response.

The main focus of the protest revolves around issues such as salaries, risk pay, health insurance, and various other demands.

Zeqiri presented 14 demands to the government, including the improvement of general working conditions, permanent risk pay, inclusion of specific units in market condition supplements, and a retirement age of 55, aligned with the Law on the Kosovo Security Force (FSK).

The demands also cover life insurance, increased health budget allocation for police services, disability compensation for injured officers, inclusion of civilian staff in specific supplements, equal daily allowances for all police members, travel compensation, year-end bonuses based on performance, restoration of work experience bonuses, reinstatement of three accompanying salaries for retiring officers, bereavement pay, and care for the well-being of families who have lost or had members injured during official duties.

Zeqiri mentioned that they are ready to engage in discussions with the government to address these conditions and expressed hope that the Kosovo government would understand their concerns and invite them for a meeting to find concrete solutions to their legitimate demands.

For further developments, the Police Union will inform the public in due course. At this moment, they consider the protest concluded, stated Zeqiri.

The first protest by the Special Intervention Unit took place on November 1 in front of the Kosovo Government building. The elite police had warned that they would not retreat from their demands. On October 27, the Kosovo government introduced risk pay supplements for members of the Kosovo Police, varying according to the positions of police officials. For elite units such as the Special Intervention Unit, Rapid Intervention Unit, and Close Protection Unit, the supplements were set at 150 euros above the base salary. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit was slated to receive a 120 euro supplement.

The emergence of elite Kosovo Police units onto the streets signifies a complex interplay between law enforcement and democratic governance. While the democratic fabric encourages citizen participation and expression of grievances, the sight of highly trained police forces advocating for their rights prompts a reflection on the health of the system. It underscores the importance of a responsive government in safeguarding the interests and well-being of those entrusted with upholding law and order. The democratic ideals of transparency, dialogue, and respect for the rights of all citizens are put to the test, shaping the narrative of a nation navigating the delicate balance between public service, security, and individual freedoms.

As the echoes of the elite Kosovo Police protest fade, their impassioned calls for change resonate. The ball now rests in the government’s court, with hopes that dialogue will usher in concrete solutions to address the legitimate concerns of these dedicated officers. The concluding scene leaves the future hanging in the balance, awaiting the next chapter in the ongoing saga between law enforcement and the state.

Redaksia, diplomacia. dk nuk e merr përgjegjësinë për pikëpamjet e autorit në shkrimin e botuar!


Botuar: 09/12/2023

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