ASTANA – The Kazakh crime rate has declined, reported Minister of Internal Affairs Kalmukhanbet Kassymov at a Sept. 25 government meeting.
In the first eight months of the year, the ministry registered 195,288 crimes compared to 215,441 in the same period of 2017. Of those, 66,406 were committed in public places, 36,685 on streets, 10,989 during a state of alcoholic intoxication, 4,289 by individuals with criminal records and 1,907 by minors.
“The number of crimes of the most severity and moderate severity also decreased. These include theft, robbery, vandalism, rape and other crimes,” said Kassymov.
He also highlighted the parameters for local police established in January 2016. The measures were designed to make police activities more transparent and increase trust among the population, which has recently been under pressure.
Local forces, with 25,000 members reporting to akims (mayors), include police inspectors, road traffic police, juvenile units, environmental units, protection of women from violence, specialised facilities for administrative detainees and reception centres for the homeless.
The scope of local police responsibilities, he said, involves enforcing public order, countering domestic violence, road safety and ensuring zero tolerance of small offenses – hooliganism and littering to smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages in public places.
The law adopted in July also transformed interior departments into police departments, part of which are local police, said Kassymov.
Akims were granted the right to appoint and dismiss police department heads upon request of the interior minister. The legislative change sought to consider local issues pertinent to each region.
In addition, the law provides akims with the right to set tasks before the territorial police authority, which are now within the purview of the local police service, without interfering with operational-search and procedural activities.
“Before embarking on such changes, we studied the experiences of many countries. The tasks that are set for local police really carry local significance. We would like to increase the role of the local community and akims (mayors), so that they are more active in preventing crimes at the site. We set up local police forces to increase the role of akims,” said Kassymov.
Changes in the structure were long-awaited, he added.
“The point is that we have been planning this for a long time, because crime inspection, emergency division and other bodies were part of the interior department and now the police department consists of police only. Local police will join this department fully,” he said.
The law also obliges police department heads to report to the akim and local population at least once per year.