In Kazakhstan, reform of the law enforcement system has recently started as part of the overall modernization of the country and the first evaluation of the results obtained is very optimistic, writes Yerlan Turgumbayev.
Yerlan Turgumbayev is Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The modernization of the internal affairs organs of Kazakhstan aims to change the attitude of the citizens of the country towards the police, which will also change with today’s innovations. We have already achieved good results in some areas. For example the selection and training of personnel.
Firstly, we have optimized department training, and secondly, we have introduced a three-stage system of personnel selection, introduced the principle of competition. New qualification requirements have also been adopted to promote young talent.
As part of the roadmap to modernize the internal affairs organs for 2019-2021, 100 senior and 1,500 senior positions were eliminated. This enabled us to review the question of the financing of the internal affairs organs with a view to optimizing them.
It should be noted that positive changes in pay also lead to an increase in the demands on the work of the police itself. The introduction of a new system of criteria for evaluating police performance is evidence of this.
These criteria are formed on the basis of social research. For example, at the end of last year it was found that around 37% of respondents fully trust the internal affairs organs and 38.4% partially trust them. At the same time, 57.4% of those surveyed rate the security level in the country as quite satisfactory.
Important progress has been made in the fight against corruption in the police force. Several bureaucratic departments of the Interior Ministry have been liquidated. These posts and divisions led to fair criticism of citizens who signaled the corrupt practices.
The digitization of criminal and administrative proceedings is also advancing. To date, 95% of the services provided by the internal affairs organs are automated. As a result, the number of corruption offenses in the police force has decreased by 43% over the past 3 years. In addition, more than 70% of them have been identified by their own security guards.
We consider any case of such crimes to be an emergency. The perpetrators will be brought to justice and their bosses will be removed from office.
Work is underway to improve prison conditions. The installation of video surveillance in the areas of the penal institutions helps to improve the situation. In addition, terminals were installed to electronically submit complaints and appeals from convicts to other authorities.
More than 120 such terminals have already been installed and we will install around 500 more.
Above all, however, we are developing new formats for working with the population. Our priorities include making it easier for citizens to access the police, their satisfaction with their services and close partnership with the public.
With regard to the implementation of these tasks, the work of the police to ensure the effectiveness of their permanent presence in public spaces should be emphasized. The Ministry of the Interior has introduced flexible patrols: the number of foot patrols has increased in the most criminal settlement areas.
Modern modular police posts with the necessary requirements for serving and receiving citizens around the clock are also being installed. Today there are 50 such posts in the regions. There are plans to install another 170. In addition, the installation of audio / video emergency call systems – the so-called “SOS buttons” – began in public places, schools and hospitals in the republic.
We also have high hopes for the âPolice 102â mobile application, which was launched in February of this year. It enables citizens to send information to the police about crimes they have seen.
It is important to note that when the applicant submits an application via the âPolice 102â, his / her location is automatically determined, which enables the operator to take emergency measures. So far, 46,000 citizens have already used this type of application.
The role of local police officers and district inspectors, who are an important link in the crime prevention and crime system, is another important priority. In order to improve the status of the district police inspectors, their powers in the field of administrative procedure and crime prevention are expanded.
Thanks to internal reserves, we are planning to increase the number of district police officers. Another important issue is the construction of additional police stations.
Because of the measures that have been taken, crime has really decreased. By the end of last year at the latest, we can speak of a 37% reduction. I don’t deny that this may be in part because of last year’s quarantine restrictions.
But obviously it is the result of the measures that have been taken that we have achieved objectively significant results in the fight against drug-related crime, in particular by improving anti-drug legislation, in particular by including synthetic drugs and eliminating laboratories for such drugs, sale and solicitation aimed at using drugs via the Internet and other electronic information sources as particularly serious criminal offenses.
We are also interested in the experience of police reform in other countries, particularly the EU, which have strong guarantees for the protection of human rights, human dignity and people’s privacy.