Institutions tolerate in silence the dual employment of the security forces

The State Police and the Guard of the Republic, where dual employment is forbidden by law, declared that during the last five years they didn’t highlight any case that proves it, while the reality shows a different story.

Physically strong, well-trained, with weapons that they can carry at all times, with a salary which often does not guarantee bountiful expenses and with an offer always present at their door, the Albanian security forces often are dual employed, in violation of the law.

This phenomenon, which has been present for decades in institutions such as the State Police, has decreased as years passed, but an investigation of the Albanian Center for Quality Journalism shows that it is still present, with a great potential to harm the integrity and effectiveness of the security forces in the country.

The second jobs are often as security guards in night clubs or as bodyguards for businessmen and other important persons. The cases where the dual employment is performed for criminal groups that require security and protection from rival groups are not few either.

The most preferred are security personnel in departments of special intervention and Commando forces, because of their high physical preparation and the fact that in their work for the state they get called up only for emergency cases.

The dual employment is forbidden by law in the State Police and the Guard of the Republic, in a time where sources said for the Center that approximately 20 per cent of the officers of these institutions are dually employed.

In the Albanian Armed Forces, where dual employment is allowed, during the last few years a tendency to abuse with this phenomenon has been noted, where military personnel of the Albanian army is believed to be involved in criminal dealings, as a consequence of their “second job”.

In all the cases, dual employment of the security forces is considered from experts as dangerous, because it compels the security officers to get involved in criminal activities and decreases the performance of the institutions in providing security for their citizens.

However, despite the dangers this phenomenon carries, the security institutions don’t seem to have any concrete plans to stop it.
The investigation reveals that during the last five years none of the security institutions in the country have identified dually employed officers, making it clear that this phenomenon is tolerated in silence.
The war against this phenomenon would require raising the salary standards and improving the supporting infrastructure for this category.

The danger of criminalization

In the information corners of the police stations in Tirana an order with 19 bullet points by the Minister of Interior stands conspicuous, updated last October, when the ex-General of the Albanian Army, Sandër Lleshi, was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs.

The order aims to remind the police officers some of their duties.
“To identify the bodyguard officers that serve in bars (military, of the Guard, police officers, RENEA, FNSH, etc.”, – is emphasized, among others, in point 16 of the list.

Officially, the State Police does not allow the dual employment of its serving officers and exceptions are made only if they engage in academia.

“The dual employment for officers of the State Police is defined in standard procedures for the dual employment of the officers, where it is specified that: Police Employees are allowed to be dually employed only if the second field is teaching”, – this institution says for the Center.

The dual employment is categorically prohibited also for the employees of the Guard of the Republic, a special structure under the Ministry of the Interior, with a mission to guard and protect high officials and their residences.

However, regardless of this fact, former leading officers of the State Police and current officers of this institution reveal that the phenomenon of dual employment is still present and is tolerated in silence from the higher ups, due to the low salaries.
Meanwhile, the State Police emphasized for the Albanian Center for Quality Journalism that, from “2014 until today, not a single employee was prosecuted for dual employment.

Furthermore, the Guard of the Republic declares that, despite it continuously sets up controls for violations, including the dual employment, “during the period 2014-2018 we didn’t identify any case for current employees of the Guard of the Republic that was dual employed”.

On the other hand, the Albanian Armed Forces declare that the legislation under which they operate, does not prohibit dual employment, as long as the military personnel answers the call of the institution during and off work hours. The only limitation for this dual employment is the prohibition of the violation of the law on the Conflict of Interest, a law with a broad scope and general definitions.

Military police. Archive image Antonio Çakshiri/ACQJ

The Army of Albania doesn’t explain if there is an internal regulation, which clarifies the limitations for the second job, but it is emphasized that, “for the period January 2014-October 2018 there were no prosecutions against officers for violating the legal framework for dual employment”.
Regardless of this fact, on October 4th of last year, an officer of the Commando special forces of the Armed Forces, Mervol Billo, killed a person and wounded two others in a bar in the area of ex-Blloku in Tirana.

According to the media in the country, Billo was involved in an incident du to his job as a bodyguard for the singer Elvana Gjata and her partner, Ervin Mata.

Nikollë Ndoci, former director in the State Police, with 20 years of experience in the institution and an additional 5 years as part of the Guard of the Republic, stresses that in a country with high criminality like Albania, the offer for a second job often “places these officers in the position of the accomplice”.

“Their service, their presence and gaining a salary from individuals of the criminal world incriminates these officers as much as their “bosses” who pay them”, – he said.
The forensics expert, professor Luan Veliqoti, stresses the same idea, often considering the second job as entering in a vicious circle that criminalizes the security forces.

“The employer may be a person with criminal background and may ask for favors from the employee, who might be obligated to fulfill them in order to keep the job”, – he said.

According to Veliqoti, another negative effect that comes with the second job is losing interest in the main one, in service of the security of citizens.

“It also brings yet another a negative effect in the performance. A second job affects the performance of the employees, that is why it is prohibited by law in the case of security officers”, – he emphasizes.

Nikollë Ndoci, who is a representative for the association of Former Employees of the Police, also stresses that dual employment makes these officers unable to do the service for which they are paid by the state.

Low salaries favor dual employment

According to the government decision in 2017, the gross salary of a member of the military starts from 33,600 ALL, up to 49,650 ALL. Regardless of the rank, even in cases where a member of the military has more than 10 years of commitment, the salary does not surpass the boundary of 59,800 ALL.

The additions to the pay for job difficulties are also of a lower amount. The security experts answer unanimously that one of the reasons which drives the officers of the security institutions towards dual employment is the low salary for a difficult job.

The State Police has a level of gross salaries that start from 50,000 ALL for inspectors and culminates in 125,000 ALL for major directors. The additions in pay due to rank reaches a higher level for the directors of special departments like RENEA, with 40,000 ALL and an average of approximately 12,000 ALL for other particular functions.

Albanian Special Forces, RENEA. Archive image Antonio Çakshiri/ACQJ

The officers of the special unit of the Guard of the Republic have a level of gross salary that starts from 40,500 ALL and rises up to 115,000 ALL for major directors. The additions due to rank have an average of 17,500 ALL.

“Our salary is somewhere around 54,000 ALL of net salary, insufficient to cover all expenses necessary for a normal life, apart from the extended working hours and the risks that come along with this job”, – a police officer in Tirana points out.

According to him, the situation becomes more difficult when the officers of the security forces have a rent to pay.
The forensics expert, professor Luan Veliqoti, emphasizes for the Center, that Albania is one of the few countries in the world where low salaries of security officers are not compensated with other services to help this category of employees.
“What they do is dangerous and everywhere in the world the payments are dignified and in addition, the security officers benefit other bonuses.

In Turkey, for example, where the salaries of the police are lower than in the western countries, the state provides for this category of people free medical services, vacations, houses etc.”, – he noted.

Currently, the police forces in the country are not paid for their extra hours of service, a problem present for many years now in the State Police. An order in February, issued by the General Director of the Police, Ardi Veliu, stresses that, as a consequence of the insufficient budget, the extra working hours of the police officers during 2018 would not be paid, but would be rewarded with days off work.

With the continuous party protests in the country, local elections and the summer traffic, this decision is expected to discourage even more the security forces in the country.

In any case, Nikollë Ndoci, a representative of the association of Former Employees of the, emphasizes that dual employment of the security forces cannot, by any means, be sanctioned by law, as a consequence of the many risks it carries.

According to Ndoci, the real reason why this phenomenon persists is the fact that there never was a serious effort against it.
“They use physical force, the power of the weapon they are allowed to carry, the public function where they serve and the fact that no one has obstructed or obstructs their dual employment”, – he stresses.

According to him, the phenomenon of dual employment in the security forces has ben and is still carried out with the full knowledge of the superiors, with the exclusion of some sporadic cases.

*Feature photo in the beginning of the article: Albanian special police unit, “Shqiponja” 

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