The Future of Local Police in Brazil

The Future of Local Police in Brazil

By Dialogo
January 19, 2011

Ana, awesome. I am so happy your article was published. Congratulations! Hugs, Sebastian. It seems the State Police are on the right track. Despite the many things they still have to face, we have more hope now… From my own experience I hope some more changes are coming, like professional recognition, not necessarily through better salaries but through improved facilities for themselves and for the public. Workloads, even with less bizarre perks, everyone profits when the job and the professionals gain the respect of the citizens. Excellent in two ways: the content, with hope and originality and the beautiful and accurate writing. This project by the State Police interacts both in terms of context and situation with the current condition of Rio. With this project in place, the people of Rio have more reason to believe that the state is actually concerned about their daily lives. Congratulations, Bia. Keep it up. Kisses, Adair Very good. I hope this to be a model throughout Brazil. Congratulations to the Rio de Janeiro State Police. Its innovative efforts like those which actually mitigate the problems of security in the city. With stronger integration and trust between the population and the police, better results will be obtained as the help will be more effective. It is necessary to modernize the State Police and bring it closer to the people. Once more, thanks and congratulations! João Carlos Navarro This statistical report is totally disappointing, regarding the work the professional police do, the fight against crime is not accomplished through the internet, nor with visits to the victim’s homes by administrative police. I’d like to congratulate the Rio de Janeiro State Police for setting the example for other states by completing their efforts, which cannot be achieved without a competent specialized workforce, and there is no one better to serve as the center of that group than Ana Beatriz. Congratulations to all of you. I have already used this service and it works. I used this service recently and it is very good. Uncomplicated. Congratulations to the Police.
In March 2010, the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro State inaugurated a new model for citizen service with the creation of “Comprehensive Citizen Services Precincts,” known as DEDIC (in Portuguese, Delegacias de Dedicação Integral ao Cidadão). Now, people can file a preliminary incident report online, from the comfort of their homes, and schedule a visit by police officers to their residence or any other more convenient location, such as bars, shopping malls, places of work, etc., or make an appointment to go to the police station to confirm the crime and have a final incident report issued.

This innovation originated from current Police Chief Allan Turnowski’s concern is to seek more integration with neighborhood residents and speed up investigations. This is because one of the main obstacles to the management of the Civil Police in Brazil is the issue of “moonlighting” and their 24×72-hour schedule. In other words, after twenty-four hours at work, they have three full days off, making it close to impossible to give continuity to investigations. Currently, at the DEDICs, police officers work eight hours per day, totaling forty hours per week.

According to Turnowski, the concept of good policing is not exclusively linked to good marksmanship, high-end weapons, or the best operational equipment, but to mastering and monitoring information received from citizens and circulating on the streets, since without information, the equipment available is of no use.

“The Dedic Program model has been well received by the National Secretariat of Public Safety, and other Brazilian Civil Police departments are now visiting to observe it, starting a whole new discussion on nationally standardizing the operation of the service provided by the Civil Police. This would, of course, have to be adapted to the specifics of each police department, since not all of them have as good a computer system in place as the one in Rio,” said Turnowski in an interview to Diálogo.

Implemented in eleven neighborhoods (Barra da Tijuca, Recreio, Tijuca, Ipanema, Taquara, Tanque, Copacabana, Leblon, Gávea, Icaraí-Niterói, and Campo Grande), the DEDIC program is already showing clear results, such as a 144% increase in the number of arrests between March and June 2010, when compared to the same period in 2009, and a 13.48% increase in the number of incident reports.

Another innovation of the program is in the management area, with a new monitoring and evaluation system. The police Strategic Affairs Nucleus does a quarterly survey of all victims assisted by the DEDIC program, in order to find out how the program is doing. For the first report, 234 people were interviewed and gave their evaluation of matters that ranged from the quality of service and the equipment used to their trust in the institution itself and the sense of security in the neighborhood in which they live.

It is interesting to note that in such a short period of operation, the DEDICs have already earned residents’ trust in the neighborhoods they serve. According to the survey, 97% of respondents (see figure) stated that they feel safe with the service provided by the Civil Police.

Another important finding is the citizen evaluation of the institutional image of the Civil Police. The vast majority gave positive ratings, a total of 86%, including 34% who assigned the police a grade of 7 or 8 on a ten-point scale and 52% who assigned grades above 8.

Out of the total group of people interviewed, 40% had filed an incident report prior to the new system, and it is interesting to note that, independent of the contact they did or did not have with the Civil Police, a massive 90% stated that they perceived improvement in the service provided to citizens with the DEDIC program.

One of many success stories, showing the agility with which the program functions, took place at the 77th Precinct in Icaraí, in Niterói, where the victim sent an email to the precinct’s contact email address, stating that she was locked in a bedroom, at home, with no telephone, and her parents were in the living room being threatened by her brother, who was armed with a knife. The commander of the 77th DEDIC Precinct, Officer Mário Luiz da Silva, immediately contacted the commander of the unit that served the area where the victim was, in downtown Niterói, who sent a team of officers to the location and solved the problem.

Another case that had major repercussions in the media was the success of Operation Cruzada, carried out by DEDIC agents from the 14th Precinct in Leblon, against drug trafficking in Cruzada São Sebastião, the second-largest drug market in southern Rio de Janeiro, behind only Rocinha. The precinct commander, Officer Fernando Veloso, states that this operation was only possible due to the DEDIC program.

Citizen participation and collaboration in the work of the Civil Police, which were revived and stimulated by the program, helped in making effective many arrest warrants against drug dealers and others involved in the illegal drug trade who were active in the area.

In addition, since the DEDICs began to operate, the police have begun and intensified a close relationship with local residents, by reviving their trust, their sense of citizenship, and dialogue between both parties. Therefore, they were able to increase the number of reports and even the amount of information exchanged in real time during the police raids carried out in the area.

To think and “to do police work” nowadays require building a new pact of trust between the state and the population. The policy of citizen security, so much dreamed of and debated, will only work if there is in fact an increase in trust in the work of the institutions involved in public safety.

It is from this perspective that the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro State are starting to test a new standard for citizen security in the country: creating a proactive local law-enforcement police, more committed to society.