Interior minister calls on government to support police rather than army

  • 2000-08-17
RIGA (BNS) - Interior Minister Mareks Seglins Aug.10 called on the government to extend more support to criminal police, fighting criminality every day, rather than to army that is for years getting ready for joining an international organization or preparing for a "mystic" conflict.

Seglins expressed the opinion in a news conference on Aug.10 when reporting on police work in seven months of the year.

The minister said the state police is short of 5.7 million lats ($9.31 million) to perform its functions envisaged by the law, from this 2 million lats are needed for salaries to police staff. Seglins said he will not be able to support the state investment program in amount of 42 million lats, if the required 300,000 lats from that amount are not allocated to the criminal police.

He said regretfully the government does not view the work of criminal police as a priority citing accession to the European Union and NATO as priorities.

"And I am not saying that it isn't important. Evidently, it is important.

"It is not important to concentrate on the army which is preparing, preparing and preparing..." said Seglins.

The police would need additional 8.2 million lats annually to secure performance of its functions. The minister said he is ashamed for the circumstances in which, due to the attitude of the state power, the police officers have to do their daily work of fighting the criminals.

Seglins said the state criminal police chief earns 400 lats a month, Riga criminal police chief gets 300 lats while a police officer's monthly salary is below 200 lats.

He said the police also is short of funds for the technical equipment, including automobiles, mobile telephones. He said that today some 3000 criminal police officers have 271 mobile telephones, moreover, the police officers are chiefly buying the telephones from their own funds.

Seglins said the state police this year was able to purchase only 23 new vehicles, adding in numerous places police are still using the old Soviet-time Lada cars. The state police presently has 845 vehicles, of which 25 percent are more than 8 years old.

The minister said the officials should first think not of buying computers for the police but of basic things needed in the daily police work.