Aleh Vouchak: Minsk riot policemen bring shame on police
14:51, — society
Robbery of people became a blot on the reputation of the law-enforcement bodies.
Aleh Vouchak, a former prosecution investigator and head of the organisation Legal Assistance to Citizens, spoke to charter97.org about a criminal case against officers of the Minsk riot police.
“A lieutenant who covered up prostitution was recently tried in the Frunzenski district court. There also was a case of the police chief in the Mahilou district, who stole hay. It's a system. I think the problem is personnel. People do not come to law-enforcement bodies for ideas, to protect the state and order. They have other aims,” the lawyer thinks.
He stressed that top officers and ordinary policemen feel relaxed if prosecuting agencies do not control them.
“Is there any sense in detaining a drunken person if he can walk without help? Anyone can left a restaurant being a little drunken. If they don't do it, people won't hate the police so much. They rob drunken people, because they cannot complain. In this case, the victims probably complained about actions by the policemen and they were dismissed,” the human rights activist added.
He noted that a police officer must be charged with abuse of power for such offences.
“But we have a practice of termination of employment by mutual agreement. It is convenient for their commanders. The offence is later classified as a robbery committed by an ordinary citizen. I was detained by riot police officers and I'd like to say that they have little understanding of an administrative process: they don't know how to make a police report, how to explain one's rights, who has the right to detain, when to make a list of personal belonging and so on. They are not lawyers, but they should have lessons and trainings,” the former prosecution investigator said.
The head of the Legal Assistance for Citizens is convinced that such news demonstrates that the police have problems with discipline, personnel and top officers, who cover up offences.
“There are no professionals in the police. We observe lack of personnel both in regions and Minsk. The police recruit people who commit offences against people and the state. People then ask themselves: How can I trust the police, if police officers rob people? I cannot say all policemen are bad. I know there are a lot of good people, but such cases are a shame on the police. It is a blot on the reputation of all police officers. It is sad news for those risking their lives and fighting against crime. Some are even ashamed to say they are policemen. When they look for a new job, they often try to hide they worked for the police,” Aleh Vouchak said.
Four now former officers of the Minsk riot police were charged with violent robbery. They will be tried.
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