Changing the sign

Police Patrol with unclear duties may replace the State Auto Inspectorate

Police Patrol with unclear duties may replace the State Auto Inspectorate
Photo: PHL

The Ministry of Internal Affairs plans to replace the State Auto Inspectorate (SAI) with a police patrol service. Such a format has already been tested in Khmelnytskiy, though it has so far not given any positive results.

Lessons from Khmelnytskiy

Yesterday, Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov announced the creation of a police patrol service in Kyiv that will replace the SAI. On his Facebook page Avakov wrote that the screening will begin January 20, 2015 and all those willing can participate in the selection process. After selection and three months of training the new service will get to work on the streets of the nation’s capital.

Adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs Zoryan Shkyryak told Capital that seeing as this issue is currently being discussed inside the ministry, more detailed information will be made public later. “I know for certain that contest commissions will be formed and the criteria of selection are currently being developed. Soon, First Assistant Minister Eka Zguladze will inform about the details,” he told the publication.

Assistant Chair of the Kyiv City State Administration Ihor Nikonov said the city government is positive about the idea proposed by the MIA, though it has not yet received details about the project proposed by Avakov. The Expert Council on Reform of the MIA noted that it has not yet been invited to participate in the creation of a police patrol service in Kyiv.

Vice chairman of the council Oleh Martynenko says he did not even meet with Avakov’s new deputy Zguladze. “I think that Avakov is in a hurry to achieve results, but at the moment there is no information in the internal affairs ministry about the Khmelnytskiy experiment,” he noted.

As a reminder, within the framework of reform of the MIA the Cabinet of Ministers approved an experiment in Khmelnytskiy on the joint work of the traffic police and the police patrol and checkpoint service (PPCS). In April, the ministry must submit a report and a proposal on the merger of the two services.

As Director of the Public Relations Department of the MIA Administration in the Khmelnytskiy oblast Inna Hleha told the publication, 20 employees of the SAI and 33 employees of the PPCS are participating in the experiment. Teams consisting of 3 officers have been formed. At the moment, they are not patrolling the streets on a 24-hour regime. They are only on the streets from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The patrol units will begin working on a 24-hour regime after December 26 once they complete the training course of the MIA program and pass the required exams.

“The experiment will end on February 24. A week later the results will be tallied. The experiment is being financed by the MIA from a special fund from which we were allocated UAH 240,000 for the purchase of fuel and uniforms and Kyiv contributed 12 Toyota Prius patrol vehicles,” Hleha said.

She said Ukrainian specialists are conducting the training, while American expert Ronald Glensor, whom the MIA considers the manager of the experiment, only read a few lectures on the topic of cooperation between the police and the local community.

In his turn, Representative of the Regional Division of the Road Control NGO Oleh Bondarenko told Capital that the merging of the SAI and the PPCS did not change the situation on the roads. He noted that the patrol service was given the functions of the SAI, though changes in the documents for fulfilling their tasks were not submitted. “This is total disorder and nothing but window dressing. In short, state auto inspectors were turned into taxi drivers for the PPCS and nothing else changed,” Bondarenko complained.

Hapless attempt

This is not the first attempt at reform of the SAI. In the summer of 2005 President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree on the liquidation of the automobile inspection body. In its place he announced the creation of road police and a patrol service. For the period of forming the new departments the functions of safety on the roads were transferred to the MIA. Over two years nearly 7,000 employees of the SAI were dismissed and the number of fatal accidents significantly increased. As a result, in 2007 the department was reestablished, and it was admitted that its reorganization was a big mistake.

As the former head of the SAI Department Vasyl Zaichenko explained, at that time there was an attempt to implement reforms on paper without thorough measures to reform the work of the auto inspectorate. So, in his opinion in order to form a unified patrol service, amendments to the existing legislation must be made. It is not possible to simply create a new service within three months. At the moment, the question arises: who will be responsible for reporting of traffic accidents – the road police or the patrol service? The situation with the violation of traffic rules is similar. If the old technology of video surveillance is reintroduced, the courts will be flooded with claims.

As a reminder, in October the Cabinet of Ministers approved the concept of reform of the MIA. According to this document, the SAI and PPCS should be merged in 2015. In addition, traffic police that will patrol state highways and ensure safety on the roads will be created.

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