10 November 2015

Ukrainian police force gets European makeover

Over the next twelve month the Ukrainian police force will be completed overhauled across the country.

The old force, known as the militsia, is being phased out and a more modern and European system will replace it.

Responsible for the new police force is the former Georgian education minister, Khatia Dekanoidze, who says, “we are going to do everything in our power so that the Ukrainian National Police will be modern and European,” she said at a state meeting.

Under the new policing system in Ukraine, the new police force will have a range of new powers. New police patrols will be set up and officers will receive specific training. In addition there will be pre-trial investigators, police guards and a special task force.

Further investment is being pumped into the fledgling police force including improved police cars and new uniforms.

Kyiv is the first city to receive a new police patrol of 2000 officers. Twenty percent of the new patrol is female.

The old Soviet style force has regularly been criticized for high levels of corruption, ineffectiveness and low crime solving rates.

The new changes are due to be completed before December 31st next year. Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov is aware that they have a big job on their hands.

“There will be transition. There will be a few months of personnel changes, there will still be a glimpse of old uniform for a few weeks…but that is all” he said in a statement on his Facebook page.

Ukraine’s new police force will also be focusing their attentions on traffic violations.

A trial camera system has been stalled across the capital city, Kyiv, to record number plates of cars that violate traffic laws.

The owner of the vehicle (not the driver) will be notified of any infringements via letter, email or phone within 3 days of the offence.

Taras Hook, head of the Lviv Police Department told reporters at a local conference “There are several cameras operating in test mode in Kyiv at the moment. Within a few hours they recorded hundreds of traffic violations were recorded.”

If new traffic plans are implemented, offenders would risk being fined up to 255 Hr if a driver exceeds allocated points on their license (which would allow for 3 offences to be committed before fining).

Reactions to the proposed traffic plans in Kyiv are mixed.

Local taxi driver Vyachislav Romanenko said “It’s just another way for the government to make money off people. That’s all it is.”

Not everyone shares the same view. Pensions Darina Ostapchuk says “I don’t have a car but I am sick of people parking everywhere. Today for example a tram was stalled for 2 hour because someone parked halfway across the tracks”.

Others agree. Irina Isarova who drives and regularly commutes in Kyiv says “the standard of driving in Kyiv can be really bad and a lot of people don’t respect speed limits, traffic lights or even pavements! Something needs to be done about it because it is a joke. And if the fines help improve our police force then I am in favour of the new traffic laws.”

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