UNODC in the Kyrgyz Republic: Bringing the Police Closer to the People

With the opening of a newly constructed police station in Jalal-Abad city in the Kyrgyz Republic on 22 January 2015, the Ministry of Interior of the Kyrgyz Republic, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government of the United States of America marked the results of a two-year project aimed at strengthening cooperation between police and local communities on crime prevention and public safety. The construction works, worth 4.7 million soms, were carried out within the framework of UNODC's Criminal Justice Program in the Kyrgyz Republic with generous support provided by the Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

"Good policing and providing a safe living environment are critical to the well being of our local communities," stressed Mr. Melis Turganbaev at the inauguration event of the new police station, which was attended by oblast and city level authorities, representatives of the international community, local MPs, police officers and citizens from the Sputnik microdistrict. "The new police station will be fully accessible and it is our hope that more and more citizens will come forward to report crime and other safety concerns," Mr. Turganbaev added.   

The new police station, which is situated in a densely populated residential area servicing around 30,000 people, features a modern reception area with offices for neighborhood police officers and juvenile inspectors. Not far from the police station, a new sports hall for youth in the neighbourhood hall has also been established with direct support and funding from the local self government and the police. There are also plans for the creation of a new playground for children in the area of the police station. 

"The United States Government funds projects such as these to build law enforcement capacity, which in turn, enhances public trust in security institutions" noted Ms. Laura Griesmer, Chargé d'Affaires a.i., the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek. "The end result is that local residents feel safer in the communities in which they live and work," she added.

In addition to the construction works, the US-sponsored UNODC project trained 21 of Jalal-Abad's police officers to improve their communication skills and ability to interact with the public. The project also facilitated inclusive consultations between local self-government, local crime prevention centers, police and civil society to discuss how they can work together to prevent crime in Jalal-Abad. A new local crime prevention plan will be put forward to consideration of the city parliament next month.

The UNODC Criminal Justice Programme focuses on comprehensive police reform, including the introduction of new competitive recruitment and performance evaluation policies for the police; the establishment of police stations in line with community policing principles; the development of measures aimed at increasing gender and minority representation in police; and strengthening police oversight and accountability.

The Sputnik police station is the second municipal police station that was opened based on the partnership between the Ministry of Interior, UNODC and the U.S. Government. In June 2014, the Tash-Tumshuk village police station in Batken province was renovated and provided with modern equipment and furniture with a total cost of over 2 million soms.