07, 2012

Opening remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan at the RA Police Senior Staff meeting


I am sure that every one of you, starting from the Chief of Police, understands perfectly well the mission which you have assumed voluntarily. Indeed, it’s not an overstatement to say that today the policeman’s work is a mission and first of all it is so for the commanding officers. Miscomprehension regarding this fact equals to miscomprehension regarding the tasks and development objectives set before the Police: There should be no doubt about that.

We have put a lot of effort in expediting reforms in the Police system. I personally have been following your steps almost on a daily basis. On this current stage, I have invited your attention to the external service of the Police; I mean maintenance of public order and direct interactions with the public in general, as well as the necessity to insure a qualitative advancement in line with the contemporary requirements when it comes to the solution of the committed crimes. I should note that I observe advancement on both these directions.

However small but observable and distinct progress has become noticeable in the activities of the RA Police troops and units of external services. It has manifested itself not only in public places, during the mass events and particularly in the maintenance of the proper public order during the elections but also in the implementation of the adequate and controlled measures in pursuing the goals stipulated by the Constitution and laws. In a number of rather tough situations, we have witnessed your composed stance, patience, and what’s very important, in many cases also your caring work style; you have been mainly able to channel the developments to the right direction. This is noticeable, noticeable for many, however this is only the beginning of the mission and you have no right to stop there. With regard to external services: I anticipate your new vigor and more rapid changes; the same goes for the road traffic police, and works of the passports and visa department. Unfortunately, I have to mention that in the works of these two services, I occasionally notice retreat: we implement steps, set requirements and for some period of time, we are observing nice work, we are observing a positive response from the society. However two, three or four weeks later everything is back to square one. This is unacceptable. At this point, the work of your internal security service becomes unclear for me. I believe such a service was set up long ago, however I can hardly recall a case when based on the information provided by the internal security service any criminal case was filed. Who needs such a service after all? We know all too well that there are numerous shortcomings. Along with the shortcomings there are also crimes, and if the internal security service is unable to solve at least several such cases, it means they do not properly understand their duties. The service must either work or be disbanded.

Progress regarding solving the previously conducted crimes, including those which have greatly resonated with the society, works conducted towards the apprehension of the individuals wanted for those crimes and the achieved results are observable too. This is also another important area, where you have been on the right track but still have plenty of room for development and improvement.

Nevertheless, the unsolved issues are more numerous that the achievements. I am talking about all those unacceptable occurrences which have been happening and still go on in the Police system. I believe that if a greater speed is garnered, the issue of shrugging off all transgressions will resolve itself much smoother and trust me, in many cases, it will happen by itself.

The quality of the preliminary investigation on the criminal cases remains debatable. Probably my opinion is a subjective one, but I believe that this is the weakest point in the Police work. And this area, undoubtedly, asks for serious measures. I also think that in the process of solving and investigating the crimes, any occurrences and steps which cast a shadow or put in doubt a proper execution by the relevant Police department of the general legal principles of respect for the person’s rights, liberties, honor and dignity, or equality of all before the law and inevitability of being called to justice must be eliminated. I want you all to hear it once again from me – there are no untouchables in our country. And all those fairy tales that this one shields that one, that this one is not to be approached, the other one is untouchable are nothing but fairy tales indeed. These tales are invented by weak people, weak policemen to justify their one inactivity. There are no such people. Those who commit crimes must be punished. This is our position.

It is noteworthy that on the mentioned directions the future work should not be limited to the disclosure of the causes or individuals responsible for negative occurrences. I mean that when misunderstandings or shortcoming are taking place, or crimes are being committed, we always hear the same explanations. However, it’s not enough, not really. We listened for once, comprehended the explanation, and then in two or three months later again – a similar case and the same explanations are being offered. It is necessary to set and develop constructive solutions which will allow to register crucial changes and positive results stemming from them. And one shouldn’t rely on the legislative or organizational reforms only, because I first of all anticipate changes in the working style and mentality of the officials who carry out that work. Firstly, no matter how often we change the law, we cannot achieve success through changing the laws and regulations only. It is essential but not enough. We must change our mentality, especially because in the course of decades it has become rigid. Unless we are able to change our and our subordinates’ mentality, we will achieve no success in any area.

We cannot afford the luxury of slowing down. We should continue our progression on the already known directions and should take up the resolution of the problems in other areas too. I want every one of you to report to work every day with the anticipation of changing something. If a person doesn’t enjoy his or her work, he or she cannot be efficient in what they are doing. I hope that some time later, every one of you will indeed enjoy the work you’re doing and that every positive change will bring delight. That’s the attitude we need.

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