President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good evening, dear colleagues!
I am delighted to be with you and your families at this ceremony this evening. The Day of the Police is a professional holiday for many people in our country, for those who are serving in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in the criminal and the transport police, and police in charge of public safety. Today, we honour inspectors, juvenile operational officers, and those in the State Agency for Road Safety. And I heartily congratulate all for whom this service has become a real vocation, those who have dedicated their whole lives to the fight against violators of the rule of law. And of course I’d like to say a special word of thanks to those who have retired from the Russian police, to members of the Criminal Investigation Unit, which recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, as well as those of the Patrol and Sentry Service, a unit that recently turned 85.
The public is as interested in the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs as it has always been, since police officers are given very considerable authority, the right to act on the state’s behalf, and the responsibility of protecting the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the people whose very lives are put in their trust.
Like the country’s other law enforcement authorities, your job is to protect constitutional order and national security, to preserve the values and the fundamental framework of our society. That is why the bar of personal responsibility is set so high and why the effective functioning of your entire Ministry is so important. Law and order in our country depends on your efficient and irreproachable conduct. How we choose our police officers affects the growth of work-related discipline, the legal culture of the Interior Ministry, and the outcome of the fight against crime. You know better than anyone that every year crime is becoming more sophisticated, and – in some categories – more dangerous. Such challenges can be adequately answered only by enhancing professional skills and adopting the most modern, high-tech means to combat crime.
Just a few days ago we had a very detailed discussion about the challenges facing our law enforcement system and, first and foremost, the police. The primary objective is the protection of human rights and freedoms, safety and peace of mind. And of course in such work where the fate of real people is being decided, where the price of mistakes is human health, and where sometimes human life is at stake, there is no place for either bias or indifference. It is as important to protect the property of our citizens as it is to protect against attempts to obstruct business initiative or restrict freedom of enterprise. And now, in a global economic crisis, it is particularly important to stop any attempt to use this crisis to reap huge rewards, line one’s pockets or engage in profiteering.
Today we need to move to a whole new level in the fight against corruption. We now have all the necessary legal mechanisms, and very soon there will be a package of anti-corruption laws. I hope that the Ministry of Internal Affairs will put them correctly and efficiently into effect.
Finally, particular attention must be given to investigating cases linked to terrorism, extremism and xenophobia. We know that those involved in extremist activities always try to recruit the young, because they are usually the most vulnerable when confronted with those who constitute a danger to society in an ideological sense. For this reason preventive work and legal education – especially in schools – are now crucial. I am confident that crime can be conquered by overcoming neglect of rules and duties and disregard for the law in general and by getting people into the habit of abiding by legal procedures.
Dear friends! The work you do entails great risk, a risk to life itself, the need to be ready to respond to difficult and unexpected situations at any time of day and to always show respect, courage, restraint and composure. Yet this can never frighten those who have opted to serve with the police, those who are guided, first and foremost, by moral motives. And I am sure that your ranks will be increasingly filled with young, educated and dedicated people.
Once again I congratulate you and your friends and family on this holiday and I want to convey my congratulations to those who are on active duty on this festive evening!
We are grateful for your service to the country.