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Address to the National Coordination Meeting of Law Enforcement Agency Directors

November 21, 2006

The Kremlin, Moscow

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PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Dear colleagues,

Today’s coordination meeting is about making the Russian law enforcement system more effective.

Present here today, aside from the law enforcement agency directors, are representatives of the legislative and executive authorities and regional leaders. You are here to make practical and effective decisions on strengthening law and order in the country.  

As you know, financing for the law enforcement agencies has seen a many-fold increase over recent years. The number of personnel has increased, there is greater coordination today between the law enforcement and special agencies and their structure has been optimised. Major federal programmes such as Anti-Terror, State Border, Developing the State Corrections System over the period 2007-2016 and others have been adopted and are being implemented.  

At the same time, despite the law enforcement agencies’ increasing potential, the crime situation remains complex. The number of serious and very serious crimes is on the rise. Street crime has increased by more than a third.

Overall, the number of crimes registered since the beginning of this year has risen by 12.5 percent compared to the same period of 2005. Only half of these crimes are actually solved. This continues to have a negative impact on the situation in society and obstructs the development of business life in the country.

This situation clearly calls for more efficient comprehensive measures and steps aimed primarily at crime prevention. One such step would be, for example, to create a unified state crime prevention system that would involve all the bodies of state power, from the national government down to the local authorities. Of course, civil society organisations could also play an invaluable part in such a system.

As far as crime prevention is concerned, we need to focus particularly on teenage and juvenile crime. Minors are particularly easy prey for drug dealers and are easily caught up in extremist networks. Many crimes are committed by homeless children and children whose parents are not looking after them. Our country still has not put in place a unified system for keeping track of these children.

I want to stress that if we do not turn this situation around, we will end up in a few years with an entire generation of citizens who have no social bearings and take a nihilistic approach to the law. What we need is a genuinely effective national public programme for working with these children who find themselves in difficult circumstances. This programme should clearly define the practical and concrete steps that state and public agencies should take and, most importantly, ensure strict supervision to make sure that the measures set out are actually implemented.

Dear colleagues,

A good legal base is one of the most important conditions in successfully fighting crime. During the first years of its application, problems were revealed with the new Criminal Procedural Code, especially with regards to preliminary investigations of criminal cases. Today, the investigation of even minor cases requires complex procedural operations and volumes of documentation.

It is clear that the law enforcement agencies’ investigation departments should concentrate on investigating the most serious cases, while less serious cases can be investigated at a quicker pace through inquest. Work on improving the Criminal Procedural Code should move in this direction today, taking into account the reality of the current situation. 

The introduction of jury trials, a new institution within our judicial system, has also brought with it new problems. But I think that many of these problems are linked to the poor quality of preliminary investigation and state prosecution. We need to draw the relevant conclusions and take swift action to improve the situation.

Continued development of the law enforcement system itself is another key task, and one that requires clear criteria for measuring the results of each of the law enforcement agencies’ work.

These criteria should take into account above all concrete results and the actual quality of law enforcement officers’ work. Growing public trust in the law enforcement agencies should be one of the main indicators. That is not to mention obvious criteria such as reducing inefficient spending and using the savings made to increase the remuneration of law enforcement personnel, and work to increase the quality of law enforcement personnel. I will issue instructions on drafting the relevant regulations in order to achieve these objectives.  

Combating economic crime is another of today’s priorities. 

As the economy grows, legal guarantees for fair competition, protection of property rights and free enterprise are increasingly important. But at the same time, illegal business practices, fictitious bankruptcies and takeovers of companies are becoming increasingly aggressive. 

That’s not to mention the ever more sophisticated money laundering schemes used to launder the proceeds of crime. This includes imitating an increase to charter capital and carrying out illegal share issues, including through electronic transactions and bank transfers through transit countries with opaque banking systems. 

These types of crime are new in many ways for us and they deal a serious blow to the legal economy, undermining the trust of both domestic and foreign investors. Moreover, this ‘shadow’ business sometimes becomes a source of funding for terrorist and extremist groups, and you who are present here today are aware of this fact.

These revenues are fertile soil for the spread of corruption. I would like to say a few words in particular on the subject of corruption. Despite the many state anti-corruption programmes that have been implemented, the public still awaits more effective results in combating this evil. The professionalism of the police, prosecutor’s office and the other law enforcement agencies is not enough on its own to win this fight.

We have adhered to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Trans-National Organised Crime. But we still have not passed the statutes and regulations that would enable us to implement their provisions. 

One of the main thrusts of efforts to stamp out corruption should be the passing of laws that would prevent officials and state and municipal civil servants from entering into corrupt deals. In this respect, one of the steps that we need to take today is to subject new laws to expertise by criminology experts, including to examine how effective they are likely to be in preventing corruption. This is one of the provisions of the UN Convention against Corruption. 

I note once again how important it is to improve the legal foundation for fighting corruption. This is not just a case of toughening the penalties contained in the relevant criminal law provisions. Our legislation in general should ensure that there is no soil in which corruption can flourish in the administrative procedures of the state administration system.

The fight against corruption in the law enforcement and judicial systems must become more effective. We need to implement in full the measures set out in the federal programme Developing Russia’s Judicial System over the period 2007-2011. Above all, this means ensuring the independence, openness and transparency of judges’ work at every level and giving the public greater access to the judicial system. 

Furthermore, it is time to set in law the demands and restrictions on law enforcement and judicial system personnel, in particular controls on the revenue and property of law enforcement personnel, judges and members of their families. These measures have already been approved here and abroad and are among the provisions set out in the General Standards for Combating Corruption in Police Forces and Services, adopted in 2002 by the Interpol General Assembly.  

Finally, it is equally important to provide legal protection to law enforcement personnel and judges against unlawful intervention in their work by all sorts of people with their own interests and by officials at various levels. 

Now I would like to say a few words about the immigration situation.

As you know, new labour migration quotas will take effect throughout Russia in 2007. At the same time, we are raising the liability for employers who use unregistered workers. We are also toughening the penalties for immigrants unlawfully working in Russia. It is the job of the law enforcement agencies and the Federal Migration Service to ensure strict compliance with the current rules and the new rules introduced next year. 

In conclusion, I would like to note that resolving all of these tasks depends directly also on the law enforcement agencies’ professionalism and on strengthening enforcement discipline within them. It is no exaggeration to say that this is also a key condition for reducing the crime rate.

I hope that you will take every step necessary to strengthen law and order in Russia.

Thank you for your attention and I wish you success in your work.


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