Speeches & Statements

President Saakashvili congratulates Patrol Police force on one-year anniversary

Welcome. It is a great honour for me to stand before you today on the first anniversary of the founding of the Patrol Police service. When a baby reaches a year old, we do not generally celebrate that, but this child has grown so much in the past year, matured, strengthened and grown wise to such an extent that it has made us all so proud that we could celebrate your work everyday, not just once a year.

I want to tell you that Georgia's Patrol Police force is not just a source of pride for every Georgian, but has become an important example for the whole world.

Yesterday evening I returned from America. When I was in America, the largest radio station there broadcast a programme about Georgia's Patrol Police. We often think that everyone is interested in us but it is not like that. Radio stations in America are rarely interested in events in foreign countries. The whole programme was about your work and the main questions I was asked by several journalists I met were about your work and the wonders you have performed.

What has happened in Georgia over the past year is very important. The most important thing is not that you have new uniforms or that you drive around in new cars or that you have better salaries - although they will continue to grow and we are working on that. The most important thing is that in Georgia where less than 5 per cent of the public used to trust the police, now more that 90 per cent of Georgian society approves of the work of the police. This is a psychological and cultural revolution in our country.

People believe in the police. You know that people believe in you. You know people are proud of you. You know that it is enough for a person to have lost a key to call the Patrol Police. You know that it is enough for a wife to be snapped at by her husband for her to ring the patrol. You know that it is enough for a normal person to be in a bad mood, depressed and in need of cheering up for them to often ring the Patrol Police.

This is both a difficult and responsible task, because people look on you to come to the rescue at the last moment, to act as the last line of resort.

You belong to the whole of Georgia, you are not just a source of pride for a single political group, although the first [interior] ministers of our government, Gia Baramidze and Irakli Okruashvili, began these reforms and Vano Merabishvili is working brilliantly today as interior minister. They have played a major role in your work.

However, you also know that along with this pride, even our ill-wishers cannot bring themselves to say that the Patrol Police are not good. However, we sometimes hear them say they are fed up of hearing about this Patrol Police. This is what very weak-minded people say, people who do not love Georgia, because the Patrol Police is not something to be proud of just once, to be satisfied with just once. It is not a one-off PR stunt on TV, it is not a film star you might like for a while, or a song you like once before you find another one. You are one of this society's and today's generation's main sources of pride, today and for 100 years. That is the main thing.

It is important that together we protect this name. We should all be careful that its reputation does not decline by a single gram and you are doing that. We will again raise salaries next year, by a minimum of 10 per cent. We will further improve your conditions. This will not be the last improvement. There will be much more ahead. We will have new cars, new equipment, well-repaired buildings. You know that many of you are working already in better buildings.

The Patrol Police has rescued more than 5,000 people from crimes and harm and more than 300 from certain death. We have also lost three patrol officers. Enver Gusoev died when arresting an armed gang. Gela Kakuberia died when fighting against smuggling and Guram Topchashvili who sacrificed his life to rescuing two people.

We give remunerations to more than 1000 people for good performance. More than 200 patrol police officer will be given an early rank. More than 1000 patrol policemen will be given letters of thank.

The most important thing is to take care of and not to tarnish the name and reputation of these people.

We created the Patrol Police when there was a very difficult time for our country. There were clashes in the Tskhinvali region after we cut off smuggling routes. This was a very difficult and tough period for Georgia, although I also want to say that we may have many difficult periods ahead of us.

The intensive annexation of Georgia's most important, most beautiful territory of Abkhazia is under way. We will not allow that while I am still alive. You and I will not allow that.

There is also a criminals' den in Tskhinvali. These criminals are being directly supported from overseas. They stupidly think that we will allow that. We will certainly deal with this politically, peacefully, but where it is necessary we will take steps similar to those we have already taken to stamp out similar criminality.

Exactly one year ago when we were gathered here, I promised that I would give the most successful policemen cars and flats. You probably thought then that as always you were being promised something but nothing would come of it. Now, I think, you know that when we promise something it happens. In the past year we have taught both our supporters and opponents this lesson well.

Today we are awarding the most successful patrol policemen:

Paata Giorgadze, Head of Shida Kartli patrol police, is presented with Niva-make car.

Vladimer Khvingia, Zugdidi patrol policemen, is presented with Niva-make car.

Joni Bakuridze, Head of Batumi patrol police, is presented with Niva-make car.

Inspector Nino Matiashvili and Giorgi Laperashvili, who got acquainted with each other at the patrol police and got married, are presented with Niva-make car.

Liparteliani, Didube-Chughureti district patrol police inspector, is presented with two-room apartment.

Goga Grigalashvili, Head of patrol police Tbilisi office, is presented with two-room apartment.

I would like to congratulate you on the patrol police's one-year anniversary.

Next year we will give you twice as more cars, apartments and increased salaries.

The candidates will be selected on democratic bases and everyone will be given a chance to demonstrate their own abilities.

I strongly believe you will genuinely guard your reputation.

Tbilisi is becoming beautiful day by day and will soon become the most beautiful city in the whole Europe.

Most part of this translation is published with permission from BBC Monitoring, Reading UK

Communications Office
of the President of Georgia

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