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First Session of Working Group on Police Reform

Source: (info), 26/06/12

· Ministry of Internal Affairs

The first session of the enlarged Working Group on the further development of police reform defined the most serious issues facing the police, and the formulation of the main directions of the Working Group’s future work. The new minister of internal affairs, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, named five problems facing the Russian police. Members of the Working Group proposed that new criteria for evaluating the work of police officers should be developed, and also that it should be made compulsory for police chiefs to work more closely with the media.

Novaya Politika reports that at its first session, the Working Group discussed the main directions of its future work. Minister of the interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev stressed at the outset that police reform had entered a practical phase and begun defining the ‘key problems’ that need to be resolved as a matter of urgency. "In the first instance, this is bringing order to the system of registration and tracking of crimes by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This must be for us a basic starting point,” he stressed. He underlined that the "quality of official statistics needs serious improvement” and said said that the system for making complaints to the police about crime needed improvement. Kolokoltsev said concrete proposals were needed, possibly involving new developments in information technology.

The minister said the next issue that members of the Working Group, which includes police veterans and representatives of official structures as well as human rights and civil society organizations, is to consider is what criteria to use in evaluating the work of the police. "As practice shows, certain remnants of the so-called ‘stick’ system give rise to many violations of the law. At the same time, public opinion must become the main criterion for the evaluation of our work.”

Kolokoltsev also referred to the issue of professional training for the police. In particular the minister pointed out that in 2009 the police ministry rejected the idea of introducing specialized training institutions at secondary school level. “Did this bring us any benefits? That’s a big question,” he pointed out. According to the minister the issue of using foreign experience in the training of police officers is something that needs very careful consideration.

The minister did not pass by the failure to resolve the issue of the number of personnel the ministry needs, and also questions related to the internal organization of the ministry. The minister pointed out that as a result of a significant reduction in the number of officers, many rural areas had been denied access to the police.

At the end of his speech, Kolokoltsev issued a call for members of the Working Group to be realistic in the sense that they must “propose solutions for which there are sufficient funds.”