Ukrainian Refugees and Polish Municipal Police: Exploring Perceptions, Challenges and Avenues for Relationship-Strengthening




DTM Poland:
Période couverte
Oct 09 2023
Nov 10 2023
  • Survey
  • Community Perception

As of December 2023, more than 6 million refugees from Ukraine have fled to other countries because of the war which began in February 2022. More than 950,000 of these refugees are living in neighboring Poland. With this sudden influx of refugees, Polish society and institutions responded quickly to support their new Ukrainian arrivals through initiating social protection programs, collective site housing, and providing immediate assistance to those entering through the borders with Ukraine. Polish law enforcement – including the Polish border guard, police, and municipal police – played a key role in supporting Ukrainian refugees.

As the conflict continues and as many refugees have now lived in Poland for over a year, there is a need for research and programming on the various aspects enabling durable solutions – one of these being the ways in which Ukrainian refugees interact with and perceive Polish law enforcement. Even before the onset of the war there was a sizable Ukrainian population in Poland, meaning that Polish law enforcement officers’ interactions with and perceptions of Ukrainians may include both refugees who arrived after and migrants who arrived before February of 2022. From the law enforcement perspective, it can be challenging to distinguish whether an individual is a refugee, so for this reason our research also touches on the perceptions and experiences of Ukrainian migrants who resided in Poland before the war began (e.g. those who lived in Poland prior to February of 2022). This study aims to provide insights into the interactions, perceptions, and potential areas for improvement in the relationship between Ukrainians in Poland (with a focus on the refugee population) and Polish law enforcement (specifically focusing on Polish municipal police). The report covers IOM’s main research findings as well as recommendations both for Polish law enforcement’s engagement with Ukrainian communities and for future humanitarian programming.