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The Law Enforcement Officer Programme (LEOP) has been running since 2006 at the Polish police service, in cooperation with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (ODIHR OSCE). The Ministry of the Interior and Administration is the programme coordinator.

The programme uses a cascade system: first, trainers are chosen from all regions of the country to take part in the train-the-trainers course at the national level. Then, they go back to their regions and train police officers at the local level. The national training lasts five days, the local training one day.

The local participants are police officers who are or could be directly confronted with hate crime in their daily work. The training programme is the same for all groups of police officers as it contains basic information about each aspect of combating hate crime. Apart from passing on expert knowledge, the training also works on participants’ attitudes and their awareness of the problem. However, trainers adjust the content to the needs of the participants depending on participants’ work (prevention, criminal etc.). Typically they change the proportion of time devoted to particular subjects or altering the type of exercises.

The training is conducted in cooperation with NGOs and minority groups’ representatives who share their knowledge and experiences with participants -acting as trainers of chosen parts of the training or they are invited as guests.

LEOP training is obligatory and it is provided for police units across the country. It has been running since 2009 and training is still being carried out. 


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Implementing the practice: step by step

  • ODIHR approached Polish government representatives about joining its LEOP programme. As an international organisation, ODIHR could provide expert knowledge, a programme model, educational material and expert staff to help implement the programme.
  • The Polish Minister of the Interior and Administration sent a letter to ODIHR about joining the programme.
  • ODIHR experts in Poland visited to better understand Polish needs.
  • Polish representatives took part in ODIHR’s international LEOP training course.
  • A team was created to put together a national programme – one for trainers and one for police officers.
  • The Chief Commander of the Police accepted the programme and the programme began.
  • The national train-the-trainers course took place in one of police academies. It was included into a system of specialised courses performed by the police services.
  • The target group training took place at the local level. It was included into the system of vocational training performed for local police.
  • The Ministry of the Interior and Administration monitored the programme and then worked on improving the effectiveness of the training.
  • Teaching material such as manual and good practices compendium for trainers, leaflets for participants was published.

Evaluation of the practice

  • The Ministry of the Interior and Administration Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji was responsible for the impact assessment in consultation with NGOs and the police.
  • The effectiveness was evaluated through: direct observation during inspections, in particular police units in the whole country; the analysis of evaluation surveys completed by training participants and the trainers; obtaining information about particular aspects of how the training was carried out.
  • An evaluation report is being prepared.
  • The increase in hate crime reporting could partly be due to having police officers who are better prepared to investigate hate crime and to contact victims. This in turn increases victims’ confidence in the police.

Critical success factors

  • Diligent preparation by trainers: selecting the right trainers, allowing enough time and opportunity for trainers to practice;
  • Workshop convention for training: active methods and audiovisual materials, practical examples of the real events (from the country or even from the region where participants work), working on participants’ attitudes, small training groups, training led by a pair of trainers;
  • Experts assistance during the training: Representatives from NGOs and minority groups taking part as trainers or guests – the possibility of meeting the minority group representatives is perceived as important and interesting by police officers, and it creates contacts and cooperation between the police and civil society on the local level;
  • Well-prepared materials for trainers: manual, presentations and multimedia materials (e.g. illustrating the events from the particular region or from the country), descriptions of exercises and other active methods;
  • Materials for participants (e.g. leaflets, proposals for some additional literature);
  • Supervising the training from the institution that coordinates the programme: e.g. direct training observation, analysis of evaluation surveys, obtaining information about particular aspects of the training that has been carried out, contact with trainers, providing help in preparing teaching materials and in gaining the external experts including those from police management units. Police management units are responsible for determining the directions of actions taken by police officers. Their attitude to hate crimes has a significant influence on police officers’ way of acting when they come across hate crimes.

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

  • The whole project is transferable. However, every country has different characteristics and different needs.
  • In terms of ODIHR’s training programmes, it works with every OSCE country individually.

Key Facts

Start date: 24 October 2006.
End date: no end date.
Scope of the practice: National.
Target group: Police officers who are or could be directly confronted with hate crime in their daily work.
Beneficiaries: Hate crime victims.
Key objectives: Improving police officers’ competences in investigating hate crime cases; working on police officers’ attitudes and their awareness of hate crime.

Legal basis of the practice

  • This practice is not based on a specific hate crime legal framework. It is based on Statutory tasks of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration - Regulamin organizacyjny Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji.

Designing bodies and partners consulted

  • Ministry of the Interior and Administration, Police - Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji, Policja.
  • Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Implementing Bodies

  • Ministry of the Interior and Administration, Police - Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji, Policja.

Further information

None provided.

Contacts

  • Human Rights Protection Team in Ministry of the Interior and Administration
  • Email: zpc (at) mswia (dot) gov (dot) pl