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What should you do if the police refuse to register a claim and respond to it?

The REAct project often registers violations of rights of key populations by the police, including refusal to accept the claims from project clients reporting criminal offenses against them to the police. Such offenses include beating, robbery, fraud, hatred-driven crime, etc.

Quite often, when police officers see that a person reporting an offense may be addicted to drugs, be a commercial sex worker or have a certain sexual orientation, they try to prevent filing a claim of an offense against the claimant or refuse to respond. 

In what ways do police officers refuse to register the claim?

Dishonest police officers try to convince the person not to file the claim explaining it by unreasonable excuses such as “there are many offenses like this one”, “nothing can be proven”, “we have no capacities”, etc. Even after accepting the claim, they register it according to the Law of Ukraine “On civilians’ claims” and review it as a routine civilian claim, instead of registering the claim in the Universal Register of Pre-trial Investigations and considering it a claim of a criminal offense. Later they write the claim off without investigating it. This is related primarily to cases of a misdemeanor which are a majority of claims. 

What do you need to remember when reporting an offense to the police?

According to the requirements of the Law of Ukraine “On the national police”, the police must perform its duty 24 hours a day. Therefore, criminal offense reports must be accepted at any time. Reports on criminal offenses or other events must be immediately accepted on a 24-hour basis by the police authority to which the claim was submitted. Control of timely registration of the claim by the authorized police officer lies within the scope of duties of the immediate supervisor of a police officer in the authority (department). In case of a failure to accept the claim by police officers, you can call the police hotline at 0-800-50-02-02 or approach the head of the unit to complain. In case of an argument with the police officers, you need to demand immediate call of the unit officer responsible for timely registration of claims and reports to inform them about obstruction to filing a claim.

A report of a criminal offense must contain the following information:

The report of a criminal offense must contain the following information: the police unit the claim is submitted to, name, residence address, and contact phone number of the claimant, known circumstances related to the offense, available evidence, witnesses (if any). Prequalification of the offense must be indicated according to the Criminal Procedure Law of Ukraine. The report must contain a demand to initiate a criminal proceeding. The report must be submitted in two copies. Request to mark the receipt of the report indicating the date, the name, and position of the police officer accepting the report, on the second copy, and ask for a contact telephone number. Acceptance of the report must be confirmed by a receipt notification of acceptance and registration of an offense claim in the Universal log of claims and reports, maintained by the relevant police authority.

What are the terms for reviewing the claim about a criminal offense?

According to the current legislature, the investigating officer must enter the information in the Universal Register of Pre-trial Investigations within 24 hours from submission of the claim. After 24 hours the claimant has the right to request an extract from the Universal Register of Pre-trial Investigations indicating the number of the criminal proceeding, date and time of entering information to the Universal Register of Pre-trial Investigations, the name of the investigating officer, and prequalification of the offense. 

What should you do if the police fail to respond and register the claim in the Universal Register of Pre-trial Investigations?

If this does not happen, you need to complain to the local investigating judge at the location of the unit department about the investigator’s failure to respond. The review terms for such complaints are limited to 10 days from the moment the violation occurred. After this term, the court may reject the complaint about the investigator’s failure to respond for missing the deadline to appeal. A complaint submitted in the due term will be reviewed by the investigating judge within 3 days. The investigator is obliged to issue to the claimant the extract from the Universal Register of Pre-trial Investigations and assign the claimant the status of the aggrieved based on the claim, immediately upon adoption by the court of the resolution to enter claim information to the Universal Register of Pre-trial Investigations. 

Note that if you need to complain about police officers for any reason, you can: 

– call 102 to report the wrongdoing by the police officers; 

– call the police hotline at 0-800-50-02-02; 

– report the offense by the police officer to the Main Police Department in the relevant oblast. 

Criminal acts by police officers must be reported to the State Investigation Bureau.