A ground-breaking police training programme is underway to improve enforcement and combat corruption, involving Moldovan, Georgian and UK police forces.
Delegations from the Republic of Moldova and UK have returned from a fact-finding mission to Georgia armed with new ideas for improving road safety enforcement and strengthening professional standards in traffic policing. The visit was part of a three-country police training programme sponsored by the World Bank with the support of EASST, the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport.
The visiting delegations were hosted by the Ministry for Internal Affairs for the Republic of Georgia, who are proud of their record and the expertise of their police force. Since the crack-down on corruption since 2003, the job of a traffic police officer has been transformed from a reviled occupation to a skilled profession inspiring high levels of public trust. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Ivane Merabishvili, met the delegations and spoke of the dramatic reforms undertaken by his government to achieve this. He offered his Moldovan colleagues his full support for their efforts.
The delegates were met by Mr. Giorgi Grigalashvili, Director of Patrol Police Department of the MIA and his Deputy, Alexandre Oqitashvili, in the new headquarters of the Ministry for Internal Affairs. Mr. Grigalashvili described in detail the process of reforming the Patrol Police and answered questions raised by the delegates. He led the delegations on a tour of the MIA building, explaining the work done by each of the Patrol Police units. The visitors were shown examples of patrol vehicles and equipment.
Proper training and recruitment are vital for ensuring standards of policing. Delegates visited the MIA Academy, meeting Rector Khatia Dekanoidze. The Academy, too, had been greatly transformed since 2003. Mrs. Dekanoidze described this process and their on-going efforts to attain ever higher benchmarks for training and skills. Delegates were shown the Investigative Unit of the Patrol Police Department and met Deputy Director Mr. Alexandre Bolqvadze. He explained the operation of his unit, presented the main MIA database and demonstrated the internal system of electronic data exchange. The guests visited the Forensic Main Division, where they met with Head of Division Mr. Giorgi Jankharashvili and saw the forensic laboratory in operation.
In many parts of the world, corrupt systems of driver training, licensing and vehicle registration undermine safe driving standards and put road users at risk. An important stop for the visiting delegation was the MIA Service Agency which administers theoretical and practical driving tests and registers vehicles. The Director of the Agency, Mr. Levan Sanadze, described the anticorruption measures conducted by his Agency. Many improvements had been linked to this, such as the “one window” principle, which made transactions fully transparent and, at the same time, more efficient and better for consumers.
The final stop for the delegations was a visit to Kvemo Kartli Regional Patrol Police Division, where guests met with Chief of local Patrol Police Mr. Temur Kupatadze. They were able to see at firsthand how local police operate. They learned more, too, about police recruitment and the professional pride which was clearly evident among even local forces.
The next stage of the Exchange Programme will take place in the UK in late June, after which the delegations will provide concrete recommendations for tackling corruption and raising standards of road safety enforcement.