Georgia has “the best police in the world”, although there are “shortcomings”, which are “minimized”, President Saakashvili said while addressing police forces outside the Interior Ministry marking newly proclaimed Police Day on May 6.
“Not everything was always ideal. Of course, there were shortcomings and there were crimes committed by separate persons. Of course, at various stages the human rights situation was not always without black spots and problems, but eventually everything moved into the right direction and we will do our best not to return back,” he said.
Saakashvili said that police was “depoliticized” and targeting of the police, that had often taken place “undeservingly”, amounted “an attack on the Georgian state.”
“Of course, police is depoliticized but depolitization does not mean saying no to statehood,” he said and added that the police response to attempts against the statehood did not mean that the law enforcement structures were politicized.
In his televised speech, Saakashvili said that as a result of fundamental reforms carried out in the police after the Rose Revolution, it was made possible to eradicate the criminal mentality when criminal bosses or so called “thieves in law” reigned the country. He said that it was “part of our social transformation.”
“We all should understand that Georgian police is one of the best police throughout the world – all foreign observers acknowledge it and I think, just that is why our police, which enjoyed 5% trust in 2004, now enjoys over 80% trust, according to the results of any public opinion poll,” he said adding that “people love police.”
“We have announced policy of zero tolerance towards petty crime and whoever may criticize us this policy has worked,” Saakashvili said.
Recalling November, 2007 events when police forces dispersed anti-government rallies in which hundreds were injured, Saakashvili said that the police actions saved the country at that time by preventing a coup.
“Such a clean action carried out at that time by our police, taking into the consideration the [large] scale of those [demonstrations], is extremely rare; look what is happening in Greece and in other parts of the world,” he said.
“I understand anger of those people, who were protesting in the streets, but in fact in November, 2007… the Georgian police managed to stop a coup, which would have triggered collapse of the Georgian statehood; hence you have saved the Georgian state,” Saakashvili said.