Interior Minister announces new wave of police reforms

  • Giorgi Gakharia spoke in front of a hearing of several parliamentary committees today, prior to tomorrow’s vote of confidence from Parliament for the country’s renewed cabinet. Photo: MIA’s press office., 20 Dec 2017 - 14:37, Tbilisi,Georgia

The criminal police should be more effective and should react more rapidly to the challenges that our society faces nowadays, says Georgia’s Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia.

Gakharia spoke in front of a hearing of several parliamentary committees today, prior to tomorrow’s vote of confidence from Parliament for the country’s renewed cabinet.

In his speech, the minister underlined several directions where his agency intends to implement major reforms in the near future. Criminal police was one of them.

Describing the criminal police reform project, Gakharia said that several important segments should be separated from each other.

"Firstly, this implies the strengthening of investigative components”, he said, adding that the detectives division should stand independently.

Secondly, he said that the institution of public safety officer should also be detached, meaning the institution of district inspectors should stand separately. Gakharia believed that this step will further strengthen the relations of police with citizens.

He said that the main content of this reform already exists and the ministry will begin discussion regarding the reform with its international partners from January. Gakharia believed that the first draft document will be available for discussion in Parliament in February.

"Today, our goal is to uphold the law and order in the county and to establish public safety guarantees,” he said.

He added that in order to pursue this goal, the policy of the Interior Ministry will be strict but fair and he hopes that society will stand with law enforcement bodies to this end.

"At present, in addition to the fundamental challenges that the Ministry of Internal Affairs faces, such as the fight against organised crime, guarantees of safety and border protection, the new challenges arise such as protection of human rights, prevention-oriented police justice, and introduction of modern technologies”, Gakharia said, adding that his agency will make all of these directions a priority.

Another field to reform is patrol police, Gakharia said. He stressed that this direction needs to become more digitalised.

Another sector Gakharia plans to reform is border police. He said that there are challenges in this sphere that need to be handled urgently and Georgia will cooperate with its international partners to train the country’s border police employees and make the borders more secure.

Finally, Gakharia announced the planned creation of an additional department within the ministry, the key function of which will be working in the direction of human rights protection.

Gakharia said that the decision was driven by the fact that there are major challenges in the field of human rights protection.

"We think that it will be a temporary department and it will function until the reform and improvement of the investigation component in the Ministry is fully completed. The structural unit will focus on the problems related to domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, etc.”, Gakharia said.

Gakharia was presented to the role of interior minister in November. Previously, he served as Georgia’s economy minister.