Town of Ostrov Police Force
In fall 2010, TIC investigated information that deputies of the municipal police chief in the Town of Ostrov had acted illegally. Purportedly they had violated their duties and misused their authority by reducing fixed fines issued to some drivers and deleting their penalty points from the electronic database.
In October 2009, three drivers of cargo vehicles owned by a local construction firm drove into a section of street marked “No entry”. The police officers called to the scene gave each of the drivers a fine of CZK 1,000 and 1 penalty point. They subsequently entered the data into the relevant electronic system.
According to information at TIC’s disposal, the next day the deputies of the police chief changed the infraction conditions on the fixed fines and in the database, lowering the fine by half and deleting the penalty points entirely. But there is no appeal procedure for fixed fines nor is there any other way of changing a fine or penalty once it has been issued.
TIC reached the conclusion that the deputies of the police chief of the Town of Ostrov had committed an offence by misusing public authority and TIC submitted a criminal complaint to the state prosecutor in Karlovy Vary.
Two days after the police secured evidence at the police station in Ostrov in January 2011, the town council entrusted the deputies of the police chief with performance of some tasks related to management of the town police force. Concerned that the town council’s action could have a significant impact on the results of investigation of this issue, TIC wrote an open letter to the members of the town council.
After the police chief’s deputies were charged with suspected misuse of public authority, TIC obtained information that the continued presence of the police chief in his position could significantly influence investigation of the entire matter, primarily due to possible influencing of witnesses and also because since late January 2011 officers willing to testify truthfully about the issue had been targeted by the police chief with decreases in personal compensation, along with other hazing intended to influence investigation of the police chief and/or take revenge for the situation. TIC therefore once again turned to the Ostrov town council members.
The town council annulled the police chief deputies’ authorization to perform some tasks related to management of the Ostrov police force on 5 April, 2011. The entire matter is presently under investigation by the police.