The President assessed the performance of the Interior Ministry bodies in 2010, outlined the priorities for 2011 and reviewed the first results of the Ministry’s reform. President Medvedev also announced that he had submitted the draft law on social guarantees for Interior Ministry employees to the State Duma.
The meeting was attended by the heads of the regional internal affairs bodies, the senior officers of the Federal Security Service, the Prosecutor General's Office, the Investigative Committee, the Justice Ministry, the Emergencies Ministry, other ministries and agencies, as well as State Duma and Council of Federation members.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues,
This is the first meeting of the Interior Ministry Board since the entry into force of the law On the Police Force. Comprehensive and conscientious implementation of the law is the main issue on this meeting’s agenda.
You are well aware that our society is expecting to see positive changes in the performance of Internal Affairs bodies. In this connection, I would like to emphasise again that the establishment of the renewed police force is not a question of re-branding militia. We are talking about establishing a new law enforcement agency that must meet all modern requirements – this is of utmost importance. It will be a consolidated, mobile, efficient and technically advanced agency, staffed by professionals of the highest level – that is the reform’s objective.
I will focus on the most important tasks facing the Ministry and the police.
The first and principal task, which remains a top priority at the present time, is a determined, uncompromising struggle against crime and a qualitative improvement in the performance of operatives and investigators and in preventive policing. It is also vital to cut the crime rate. Real achievements in all these areas will be the best evidence of the reform’s benefits and the efficiency of the police. There is great potential for improvement, as you are yourselves aware.
I will cite only a few facts on the results of last year (the Minister will give more detailed information): according to the statistics available to the public at present, almost half of all reported crimes remain unsolved – 45.4%. The number of solved crimes committed by organised groups fell by nearly a third compared to 2009. The number of extremist crimes rose by 20%. Of course, the Interior Ministry and other law enforcement agencies are not entirely responsible for these figures. There are objective economic, social and psychological reasons. Nevertheless, these statistics cannot but cause concern.
It is clearly essential to raise the level of cooperation between the Interior Ministry and intelligence agencies on preventing terrorism-related crimes, and this should be done at the stage when such crimes are being planned. This is the only way to avoid the enormous losses we have suffered until now. Particular attention should be paid to eliminating the theft of explosives and explosive devices.
Maintaining the rule of law in the North Caucasus region and joint efforts with the Federal Security Service on the elimination of terrorist gangs remain urgent priorities. Security in transport facilities and in crowded places also requires that the police perform its duties with utmost responsibility.
The second objective is related to an internal problem but must be approached with consideration for the current changes in the Ministry: the optimisation of the regional offices structure. I instruct Mr Nurgaliyev [Rashid Nurgaliyev, Interior Minister] to draft a proposal on office personnel cuts to allow an increased presence of professionals in the local police force in the regions. It is also necessary to clean up the documentation by reducing the amount of reports to a reasonable minimum. The individuals and organisations that contact the police have no interest in paperwork whatsoever. They want to feel confident that their cities and towns are safe, that law enforcement officers are there to protect them and that the police will come to their aid and will respond adequately to any violation of their rights or legitimate interests.
We need new criteria for police performance assessment that will be clear for both the staff and for society. Let me remind you that the current evaluation system is based on 100 criteria, which blurs the assessment and provides loopholes for distortion. The assessment of police performance must reflect the overall state of law and order in a given area and public opinion of local police efficiency.
Third. The law On the Police Force stipulates an unscheduled performance review. Let me remind you that the idea of the performance review did not come from me or other state leaders; it came from law enforcement officers themselves. The idea was first raised last August, during a meeting I held with law enforcement officers in Yoshkar-Ola. I supported this proposal and introduced a relevant amendment to the draft law: officers who wish to join the police must undergo a performance review. This is a general rule stipulated by the law On the Police Force. The review must be a serious test, which will serve to clear the Internal Affairs bodies of those who had discredited themselves or those who are not willing to work as top professionals.
It is vital for the performance review to be as objective as possible. There should be no room for preferential treatment, just as there should be no formalities. A capable police corps, professional and respected by our society must be formed on the basis of the performance review. I would like to take advantage of the fact that the entire Interior Ministry top officials are here in this hall, to stress once again that the responsibility for the review falls on each officer in charge of its preparation and organisation – that is, all those present.
The Ministry’s HR policy also requires upgrading. Efforts should focus on recruitment, boosting the attractiveness and prestige of working in the police. It is a challenge not only for the Interior Ministry, but also for the entire state and the President. We must guarantee career growth for those who perform their duties conscientiously. With this in mind, I propose to develop a long-term personnel policy and concrete measures for its implementation.
The laws on police service and on social guarantees for police officers must become the basis for the personnel reform. During debates on the law On the Police Force, I promised that we will pass them quickly. I would like to inform you that today I will submit [to the State Duma] the draft law on social guarantees. This is the first version of the draft law and, of course, like all early versions, it is not perfect but it must specify the social guarantees for Interior Ministry employees, including all benefits, healthcare, housing and other social guarantees, and all Interior Ministry officers must feel their benefits. The list of legal options within the framework of this law is subject to additional discussion and I plan to participate in it.
I discussed this subject with the servicemen of a special purpose police unit at a meeting in the Moscow Region yesterday. Of course, this issue is of concern to all police officers, which makes it imperative that these laws are adopted as soon as possible.
On my instructions, the Government should also approve a new pay scheme. I have made key decisions on this matter. For example, taking into account the rank and basic allowances, the average pay of a lieutenant will be about 40,000 rubles [$1,300]. Pensions for police officers will be raised as well. This is imperative. We must not forget those who served in good faith, who made a valuable contribution to the development of the law enforcement system, who protected public order and the safety of our people.
I would like to go back to the performance review because it is a complex and sensitive issue. I ask you to pay particular attention to the performance review of the top Interior Ministry officials. As I said earlier, this process must not be based on formalities.
The Minister must personally oversee the organisation of efforts of the relevant commissions in the head office and in the regions, and to optimise the interaction of territorial commissions with the Coordination Meetings on Law Enforcement. I request you to pay special attention to the accuracy of the information provided by employees about their income and assets. This applies not only to Interior Ministry officers but to all state employees, hence, naturally, this should be done within the Interior Ministry system as well. Appropriate personnel decisions, including dismissal, will be taken in each case of non-compliance with legal requirements.
I want to inform you that the first meeting of the Presidential Commission for Special Certification of the Russian Federation Law Enforcement Agencies’ Personnel Applying for Senior Positions was held on March 15. In accordance with the Commission’s decision, 145 out of the 179 candidates have been appointed for the positions they applied for, and some of the documents have been submitted to me for signing. I will not sign them until I look into the matter myself. I will study these documents in the near future and make a decision.
In addition, 50 employees of the Interior Ministry have been dismissed from their posts following a preliminary assessment. This work must be completed.
I would like to note that a number of Ministry employees who have proved themselves to be hard-working officers but who did not pass the performance review due to the age limit may in exceptional cases be offered civilian jobs. The Commission's efforts will continue.
Finally, the most important challenge is to ensure the openness and transparency of police activities. Any signs of formalism or indifference must be stopped without delay. Cases when police officers refuse to accept a complaint or when they attempt to conceal a crime from recording must be investigated as criminal offences. A special procedure must be adopted for the processing of complaints against actions or inaction of police officers. They should be investigated by the public councils being set up under the Ministry and its local branches. This is stipulated by the law On the Police Force.
The innovations in the law must be put into practice. Everyone must realise that this is not just a set of good intentions proposed by the interested public and written into the law. This is the rule of law that is actually working and that is what it should be. I am referring to hotlines and call centres. I propose that a biannual report be prepared on the work with letters and complaints from the public, and that the report is made available to the public.
Colleagues, you are all well aware that society expects the police to undergo a real regeneration. On the other hand, the state's responsibility is to make certain that everyone who joins the Interior Ministry has the right working conditions. This is a twofold task. The senior officials of the Ministry’s central and regional bodies are present here today. The success of the reforms that have been initiated directly depends on you. You are also responsible for the comprehensive implementation of the law On the Police Force. Your subordinates will follow your example because they look up to you: a great deal depends on the senior leadership. I hope that you will do everything to make the Ministry reform a success.