Participants in the meeting summarised the results of the work of internal affair authorities in 2021 and outlined priority areas of activity for 2022.
Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev delivered the main report.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Comrades,
Today, at the expanded meeting of the board you will analyse the ministry’s work in the key areas and discuss short-term and long-term goals.
I want to say right away that despite the complex situation due to the coronavirus pandemic – it has been a significant load on the ministry in general, and the minister has just reported that almost half of those who were going to attend today’s meeting are sick – nevertheless, the entire system of the Ministry of the Interior has been functioning in a stable and reliable way.
Thus, public order was maintained at a high level during elections to the State Duma and regional governments. The agency’s employees did their job in a well-managed and competent way in the course of the national census, a large-scale project, as well as during major international events.
I would like to note that last year, we saw a continued downward trend in serious and grave crimes, including those with the use of weapons. The crime rate in public places has also gone down and there are positive trends in a number of other important areas.
I would like to thank the Interior Ministry staff for their diligent work, professionalism, commitment and courage.
I will elaborate on the most important tasks you will have to address this year and in the longer term.
Of course, an active crackdown on crime is our top priority. Let me remind you that last year the Federal Law On Police was amended to expand the authority of police officers, including the right to immediately inspect residential premises and vehicles upon receiving reports of incidents. We need to use these opportunities effectively to quickly solve crimes without delay, while – I want to emphasise this – guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of citizens.
You know that human rights organisations have always paid attention to these amendments. We have agreed with the proposal of the Minister and with your proposals on the fact that work in hot pursuit is very important to solve crimes and for the effective operation of the law enforcement system in general. However, the fears of human rights activists have certain grounds. I am asking you to keep this in mind, and ensure and guarantee the rights and freedoms of citizens.
Generally, I would like to once again note the task to radically improve the crime detection rate. According to last year’s results, there has not been any significant progress here so far. This means that we need consistent and more effective work on all types of crimes that pose a threat to our society.
These threats include new challenges related to crime seeping into the sphere of information technologies and communications. The number of crimes in this sphere is growing annually. Domestic companies suffer damage from the actions of cybercriminals. And more of our people are facing a loss of funds and savings, with irreparable moral damage, which evokes a strong public response. Pensioners, large families and people with disabilities fall victim to criminals. Nothing is sacred to these people; their only goal is to steal money.
I believe it is necessary to significantly improve the procedure for interaction between the Ministry of the Interior and financial organisations, telecommunications operators, and other structures in the digital space and in telecommunications. In general, more coordinated work of the law enforcement agencies, corresponding state bodies and regulators, as well as the expert community and businesses is required to strengthen cybersecurity.
It is necessary to be proactive, including in updating the regulatory framework and strengthening the technical capabilities of the Ministry of the Interior, because cybertechnology is developing rapidly, new risks are emerging, and it is necessary to prevent them and not to let criminals feed off technological progress.
In this context, our next big task is to efficiently prevent crime. Here we also have new opportunities. For example, the decision to grant the police the right to issue an official warning to potential criminals and violators of the law has played a positive role. Last year, about 111,000 warnings were issued, which helped reduce the crime rate, including domestic crimes. We must continue to actively use this tool for prevention.
Let me note that local police officers traditionally play a major role in crime detection and prevention. They work, as they say, on the ground, and know the problems of the area where they work and the people living there, which often helps not only to find a criminal promptly, but also to prevent the crime itself.
Let me note that the 100th anniversary of the local police service is drawing nearer. I would like to call the attention of the Ministry’s leadership to the need to hold anniversary events, but also to make additional decisions aimed at strengthening precincts and improving the work conditions and social protection of employees.
I would like to elaborate on crime prevention among young people, among youth. Protecting the younger generation from crime is an essential task for the development of Russia and its future.
Over the last few years, the number of crimes committed by youth has fallen, but this is by no means a reason for complacency. Armed attacks at educational institutions, cases of violence against children, their involvement in drug trafficking and extremist actions – all these incidents (and, unfortunately, they are not isolated) indicate that your work, including on prevention, should be more efficient.
Here you should look for new, up-to-date approaches. You cannot follow the standard routine; you need to see the problems and difficulties of each young person. In this sense, I believe it is important to consolidate the efforts of all government bodies and all units of the prevention system to create a single state system for continuous social support for adolescents prone to delinquency.
Furthermore, a serious signal that requires comprehensive analysis is the growth of crimes associated with extremism. In 2021, their number increased by more than a quarter. It is important for the relevant units of the Interior Ministry in cooperation with your colleagues from other law-enforcement bodies and special services to timely assess the risks of potential extremist manifestations and develop on this basis effective preventive measures.
Special attention must be paid to efforts to neutralise attempts by extremists and all kinds of radicals to use the internet (we are all aware of this and keep talking about it) and other modern means of fanning ethnic, religious and social strife. I believe today the Interior Ministry system has all the powers it needs for this.
In addition, it is necessary to more actively involve the media, civil society, youth associations and representatives of our traditional religions in preventing extremism. By public organisations, I mean the entire palette: youth and sports organisations, for one; we have many of these. We must simply look at what can be used and how in order to find an effective solution to this truly national goal.
Successfully combatting extremism is directly related to resolving migration challenges. Naturally, we are happy to welcome all those who come to us to study, work and simply live, those who abide by Russian laws and respect our culture and traditions. Such foreigners, and primarily our compatriots, must have the opportunity to get all the necessary documents freely and without red tape.
However, it is essential to take the toughest possible measures against illegal migration and the activities of the criminal groups that build their illicit business on it. As for any manifestations of extremism, violations of law and illegal work, this should serve as grounds for a rapid resolution on the deportation of such people from Russia and on banning them from entering in the future. It is essential not to let up for a moment in this environment.
I would like you to consider these requirements in developing measures aimed at simplifying procedures for receiving citizenship, permanent or temporary residence and the right to work in Russia, and participation in the federal program for the voluntary relocation of compatriots, to which I will return, in conformity with all the requirements of Russian law.
You know that quite recently, on February 10 of this year, an Interdepartmental Commission of the Security Council of Russia on improving state migration policy was established in this country. I expect its work to enhance national security in migration and to help regulate these processes so that they do not create risks and threats but serve the goals of our national socio-economic development.
New serious requirements are being placed on traffic police units. It must be admitted that there is more order on the roads now, thanks to the adopted measures, including under the Road Safety project. I know that criticism of these divisions is traditional and eternal, but let us evaluate this work without bias; after all, there is more order, as the objective figures show.
For example, 3.1 percent fewer road accidents happened in 2021. It is a small number, but still. Also, 5.8 percent fewer were killed, although still a lot of people are killed in these accidents, and 4.2 percent fewer people were injured, compared to the previous period. After all, these are real people with real lives, and their health and well-being matter.
However, as I have said, many are still killed in road accidents, including many children, unfortunately. Mortality is high in accidents caused by drink drivers, as well as in collisions with pedestrians.
It is important to continue working on improving what is considered acceptable behaviour on the road. I know that the Ministry of the Interior has great experience in cooperating with public and volunteer associations. You must further develop this partnership and make irresponsible and obnoxious behaviour on the road unacceptable in society.
As before, more focus should go to removing criminal elements from the economy and combatting corruption. I would like to repeat once again: any inspections or actions by the Ministry of the Interior related to businesses must be justified; they must not create obstacles for businesses or harm companies that do business honestly, create jobs, and duly pay wages.
I would like to ask you to make more active use of the new capabilities created by the law adopted last February in the fight against corruption. It makes it possible to expand the range of persons who can be held accountable for malfeasance, as you know. Your task is to prevent embezzlement of budget funds, as well as cases of criminal bankruptcies and illegal redistribution of or encroachment on property and assets.
Finally, it is important to step up efforts to combat drug trafficking, including additional measures to promote cooperation between Ministry units and their colleagues from the Federal Security Service and the Federal Taxation Service, and to improve international antidrug cooperation, above all within BRICS, the CSTO, and the SCO.
The goal of the state is to ensure that people working in law enforcement can make a decent living. I know, of course, that there still are a lot of unresolved problems in this sphere, which the Minister and I discuss constantly. Nevertheless, significant funding is allocated to equip units with up-to-date vehicles and communications, as well as new weapons and special equipment. We will certainly increase social benefits for employees, including the indexation of salaries and pensions.
I am confident that the employees of the Interior Ministry understand their colossal responsibility for our society and the entire country, and that they will, of course, do everything possible to perform these tasks at the highest level.
Thank you for your attention. I wish you all the best in life and service.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Kolokoltsev, colleagues,
To wrap up for this part of your work, I would like to mention a few things that you are already well aware of. However, it will be useful to mention them again.
The Interior Ministry system has always been considered, and indeed has always functioned, as the key link in this country’s law enforcement network.
The Interior Minister and I spoke in our opening remarks about the Ministry’s areas of responsibility. They cover practically all aspects of society and the state. There is not a single area that can be said to lie outside the Ministry’s responsibility. Naturally, people largely judge the state’s performance on the quality of the Interior Ministry’s work. You and I know all about this.
But I would like to draw your attention to one aspect of this issue. It is perfectly clear and obvious. I would just like to ask you not to forget that people’s lives depend on the quality of your work. This is the bottom line and must always be the focus.
Thank you very much. I wish you all the best. I wish you success.