The Human Rights Action (HRA) strongly condemns the attack on two under-aged athletes from Sarajevo which occurred yesterday in Bar, as well as the recent attacks on high school and elementary school students in Podgorica.
It is necessary to investigate whether the attack in Bar was caused by national, ethnic or religious affiliation, so that, if this was the case, said circumstance would be examined as an aggravating factor when determining the sanction (Article 42a of the Criminal Code of Montenegro).
The unscrupulous violent behaviour of minors is alarming, especially of those who repeat the same acts with impunity. They are an obvious reflection of bad role models and the degradation of respect for rights and morals at the highest levels of Montenegrin society.
Unfortunately, the Police Administration keeps rejecting the school directors’ initiative to introduce a school police officer by formalistically referring to the Act on the Classification of Job Positions.*
The measures taken so far have not managed to prevent either the latest attacks in Podgorica, or the attempt to repeat attacks on students in the courtyard of the high school.
The HRA reminds that the position of school police officer was never envisaged in the Act on the Classification of Job Positions, but it still existed for a period of four years, i.e. from 2005 to 2009, as part of the homonymous pilot project. During its implementation, some 200 school police officers were charged exclusively with preventive and repressive activities related to the security problems characteristic of schools and the student population.
According to data from 2021, the Police Administration employs 4,295 police officers. We therefore believe that there are enough of them, and that some could be engaged in schools.
Of course, this is only one of the measures the competent state authorities should urgently take to stop violence among children.
*The HRA had previously supported the appeal of directors of schools in Podgorica and had asked the Police Administration whether it would be possible to re-engage school police officers to increase supervision in schoolyards. We had received a reply stating that “The current Act on the Classification of Job Positions in the Police Station for Public Order and Peace of the Podgorica Security Department does not envisage the job position of ‘school policeman’”. The Police Administration further stated that “preventive measures and actions are already being taken to increase the level of student safety … through the presence of uniformed and plainclothes police officers in time periods defined by the Plan”.