RIGA - Latvian Interior Minister Dzintars Jaundzeikars has decided to dismiss National Police chief Janis Zascirinskis and Public Order Police chief Aivars Grigulis for the tragic incident in northeastern Latvian city of Valmiera where a detainee had killed two police officers.
"Valmiera was just one incident, but problems have been there for a long time, for example, poor work organization and poorly arranged communications," minister said.
Zascerinskis has not been able to form a good team as he had bad relationships with his subordinates. "We have to think about a new police chief with fresh ideas, progressive thinking and ability to raise loyalty in police," he said.
The minister said that Zascirinskis has done much for the police, "but there are things in which he does not succeed". The minister plans to use Zascirinskis' experience in another position.
Griguls was dismissed because the Public Order Police has been the structure with most offences discovered during investigation.
Interior Ministry Information Center head Janis Ritins and his deputy Juris Melderis received warnings in relation with the tragedy.
Jaundzeikars said that series of offences "at all levels" have been discovered in work organization of the National Police, as well as in the work of the Interior Ministry's information center. The minister said that the tragedy happened due the state's attitude to the police in general, "but it never justifies acts of individual officials".
Interior Ministry State Secretary Aivars Straume said that normative acts should be aligned in the National Police. There is insufficient communication between the police and the ministry's information center. A special program should be prepared to compile the information and such program would cost up to 12,000 lats (EUR 17,074), he said. Straume told the press that surveillance camera had been out of order at the moment of tragedy. The fact will be further investigated.
Asked why the former interior ministry's official still had the licence for carrying a gun, Straume said that the ministry's information center had the information about the offences committed, but it has not been transferred further to actually annul the licence.
Jaundzeikars already has several candidacies for the National Police chief position in mind, but he declined to speak about it.
National Police Main Administration Board head Arvids Marhels will be acting as National Police chief, and National Police Public Security Board head Alnis Jirgens will be acting as Public Order Police Chief for now.
On July 31 a police patrol in Valmiera spotted a heavily drunken man and took him to the police station, where he pulled out a gun he had concealed in his clothes and shot two policemen dead. It turned out that the detainee is a former official of the Interior Ministry Information Center, Mihails Kondrasovs.