Low police morale as crime rises

  • 2013-02-20
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Presenting the annual report of the work of the police force on Feb. 14, State Police Chief Ints Kuzis said that the force is not going through the best of times right now, reports LETA.
“We are basically going through hell at the moment, but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A change is needed in all areas - salaries, attitude towards responsibilities, and psychology,” Kuzis said.

Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis said at the presentation of the annual report that last year was a year of change for the police force, as a new police development plan was implemented, which will pave the way for a more modern force.
Kozlovskis added that despite the fact that police salaries have been increased by 30 lats (42 euros) per month, they are still disproportionately low. The minister hopes that a new salary system will be implemented by 2016.
The interior minister believes that work on disciplinary issues must also continue, as disciplinary violations cannot be justified by low salaries.

The State Police reports that 317 decisions on disciplinary action were taken last year, but in 2011, 499 such decisions were made. Furthermore, in 2012, 89 criminal processes were started against police officers, while in 2011 this number was 146.
Crime on the streets, and at home, show a disturbing trend in the country.

In 2012, 114 murders were committed in Latvia, which is 22 murders, or 22.6 percent, more when compared to 2011, according to information from the State Police.
The Police say that the increase in the murder rate is due to an increase in the number of murders committed during arguments by persons under the influence of alcohol. In 2012, one murder was also deemed a contract killing.
Also last year, the number of reported rape cases increased, from 52 in 2011 to 69 in 2012.

The Police explain this by noting that the number of rape cases are not related to any kind of serial rapist activities, but also say that approximately one-third of reported rape cases are unconfirmed in the end. Overall, the State Police registered 49,874 cases of crimes committed, which is 0.4 percent more than in 2011.
Furthermore, there was a 32.5 percent increase in serious crimes committed last year, and a 4.4 percent increase in small crimes.