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What to do if security officers came to the gas station?

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In October 2018, the Prosecutor General's Office initiated the fight against illegal gas stations. Already closed at least 602 refueling. Under the pretext of fighting the "shadows", law enforcement officers also visit the "white" business. There are a few things you need to know to minimize the negatives of these visits.

There are separate grounds for unscheduled inspections - complaints of individuals or legal entities. In this case, the controllers have the right to check only those circumstances that are set out in the appeals. If it is a scheduled inspection, then the owner or operator of the gas station must be included in the plan, which is approved for the year ahead. In practice, to procedurally speed up the blocking of gas stations, inspectors from the State Labor Inspectorate, the State Emergency Service and the State Coinspection work with police and prosecutor's office investigators.

As a rule, cases are opened under Article 272 (violation of safety rules during high-risk work) and Article 273 (violation of safety rules at explosive enterprises) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

After the registration of the criminal proceedings, the investigator receives a court decision, which makes it possible to conduct a search or inspection. Then everything is about the same. Law enforcement officers come alone or together with the controlling bodies to inspect or search the gas station, but in fact the gas station is blocked: documents, cash, fuel are confiscated, equipment is sealed and employees are interrogated.

After that, investigators apply to the court for the seizure of confiscated property and documents. Such applications are considered very quickly and often without the participation of the property owner. In the future, criminal proceedings are postponed in a long box for a month. Market operators need to prepare for such visits in advance: monitor inspection plans, train employees and have a package of permits sufficient for refueling.

The conversation with the investigator or the controller should begin with checking their documents and finding out the reasons for the visit. Very often investigators make mistakes in the address or name of the company. This may be a reason for non-admission.

If you come with an inspection, you should record all processes and provide only those documents required by the inspector. In the process of inspection or search, on the contrary, it is recommended to present all available permits relating to the operation of gas stations and equipment. This is due to the fact that in the future the investigator will apply for arrest and claim that the activities of the gas station pose a threat of death. By adding copies of such documents to the search report, the company deprives the investigator of the opportunity to refer to the court in their absence.

If there are objections to the actions of the inspector, they must be recorded and formalized in the relevant act. After the inspection, monitor the site of the district administrative court for appeals from regulatory authorities to sue the gas station. It is also necessary to respond to the instructions of controllers to eliminate violations.

After the inspection or search, you should also follow the court's website, so as not to miss the time of consideration of the investigator's request to seize the seized items. The company's participation in such a court hearing increases the chances of returning the seized property.

A fresh example was decision of the Vinnytsia City Court of the Vinnytsia region, who on December 11, 2018 refused to arrest the investigator, as the company provided part of the permits required for the operation of the gas station. The court referred to the fact that in the framework of criminal proceedings the fact of deficiencies and violations may be grounds for closing the gas station, but not for the arrest of all equipment of the gas station.

If the investigating judge grants the investigator's request for arrest, such a court decision can be appealed.

Example, Poltava Court of Appeal by its decision from 14.01.2019 annulled the decision of the court of first instance to seize the fuel dispensers and tanks, believing that such property can not be an instrument for committing a crime under Article 272 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. In addition, the investigator did not specify what investigative actions he needed to take with the arrested columns and tanks.

What to do if the object does not have the originals of all permits? It should be understood that their absence is not a ground for criminal prosecution. It is necessary to provide confirmation and explanation as soon as possible that the operation of the gas station is safe and does not pose any threat to human life.

The most important thing in the event of a "collision" of controllers or law enforcement officers is to act immediately. Appealing against all unfounded actions of the prosecutor or investigator will formally complicate the blocking of gas station activities. As practice shows, units of such raids come to court with charges. Therefore, unfortunately, often the goal of "fighting illegal immigrants" is the desire of the unclean security forces to make money. Do not think that the case will be resolved quietly. It is necessary to draw attention to the problem as much as possible and to act - to replace defense with attack! After such a reaction, the prosecutor and other law enforcement officers will think twice before knocking on your door.

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