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Head of the Criminal Investigation Department Serhiy Tykhonov on how the structure of crimes is changing in Ukraine, how dangerous is the criminal migration from Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and how the criminal investigation is combating such crimes.
Tell us about the latest practical steps of the reform. About the detectives, in particular. Who are they and what will they do?
Detective units already work in every field and apparatus of the National Police. In early January, with the participation of international partners, a competitive selection of the heads of such units took place. And now in every territorial unit, the state of detectives is practically staffed. Despite the fact that this is an experiment, we already see some positive results, which confirm its effectiveness. The essence of the experiment is to unite the operative investigator and investigator in the post of detective. Based on the results of the first half of the year, we will analyze the work of investigators charged with the powers of investigators. There is a certainty that they will cope with the investigative work because the competition went through the best.
Today there are a number of serious developments in the detective unit of the central police apparatus. Now, these criminal proceedings are being prepared for submission to the court. This is the creation of a criminal organization, and the legalization of money obtained illegally.
At the moment, there is no definition of the term "detective" in the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine. But the head of the National Police Serhiy Knyazev plans to present this pilot project in the profile committee of the Verkhovna Rada to determine their status in the legislation.
According to the latest published data, the detection of crimes, including murders, is almost 90%. This is a very large number. How is it possible?
90% is about the disclosure of murders, not all crimes. Their disclosure by the end of 2017 really amounted to 89.9%. This is the proportion of disclosure of all crimes, some of which are domestic. If we are talking about contract killings, murders using firearms, the percentage will be lower. For comparison, the proportion of homicide disclosure in many countries in Europe and North America is much lower.
Does the structure of crime in Ukraine change?
It is changing. Of all the crimes committed, I would separately identify those that are committed with the use of weapons. This is one of the main factors that affects the criminal situation in the country today. That is why we so often conduct operational preventive measures to remove weapons from illegal circulation. Unfortunately, now in Ukraine, it is really numerous, and it is connected with the military actions. We often encounter grenade explosions. They are used in domestic conflicts, as well as in organized criminal groups. One of our main tasks is to correct the situation, not to allow weapons to spread it. During the operation, absolutely all units of criminal and preventive police, investigation, explosives are involved... For three months of this year, about 1800 offenses related to the illegal circulation of weapons have been documented, more than 500 firearms have been seized. In addition, 14 grenade launchers, 200 grenades, and more than 32 thousand cartridges were seized.
Is there a chance that these people will be united in gangs? Like in the 90’s…
I would not become the current situation in Ukraine somehow associated with the 90’s. Then the situation in the country was influenced by very different factors. Now is a war. One of the factors is the migration of criminals from Donetsk and Luhansk regions to the capital and major regional centers. There is their inevitable collision with local "authorities". The so-called "code-bound criminals" also became active. Among this contingent, there are a lot of immigrants from Georgia, who are also divided into clans.
I should also mention about the activity of Azerbaijani organized crime. The leader of this criminal ethnic community has good organizational skills. Being in the territory of another state, he was able to organize the commission of a number of particularly serious crimes in the Azerbaijani diaspora. His sphere of interest extends not only to Ukraine, but also the Caucasus region, and many European countries. Therefore, in the fight against such criminal structures, we closely cooperate with the European partners, including Europol.
Tell us more about the redistribution of spheres of influence of organized crime.
Actually, such processes occur always, and they can negatively affect the general criminal situation. For ordinary people, it does not matter which criminal group won in the redivision of spheres of influence. For them, security is important so that they are not attacked on the street or robbed.
All these criminal schemes bring a considerable profit, which means that they are the object of interest of the leaders of the underworld. To achieve their goals, they use criminal capital: to influence the authorities and legalize money in business.
Our main task is to counteract organized crime by all the legal means. Specificity of documenting the criminal activities of such individuals is consistency and continuity. Criminal police officers dealing with these issues should not switch to other tasks. Otherwise, such work will be ineffective.
The fight against organized crime requires a long and narrowly focused work. First of all, this is the development of leaders of the criminal world groups, criminal analysis of the information received, etc.
Do we need to change the Criminal Procedure Code?
There are norms in it, which greatly complicate the work of law enforcement agencies. For example, a robbery was committed, a mobile phone was stolen. The victim is interested in his prompt return, but without a court decision, we cannot conduct any actions using technical means to locate the phone. You need to spend at least a few days to get the permission of the court. How will the victims relate to this? Surely they will say that the police are idle ...
We repeatedly submitted our proposals on introducing amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code both before and after the creation of the National Police. Unfortunately, we are not always heard. Therefore, we work within the framework established by law.
How does the estimation of the criminal investigation officer work?
Managers of all levels conduct monitoring and evaluation of the work of criminal investigation officers. For example, the head of the department conducts such a work in the district office. He assesses the effectiveness of the work and the actual burden on the operative: how many materials are under consideration, how to deal with citizens, whether there are complaints against them, how effectively are the tasks of operative-search activity solved, how many persons who committed the crime, category of these crimes. This also matters. The end result is the number of criminal proceedings in the court on targeted materials. This is the basic requirement. Criminal proceedings might be sent to court in large numbers, but convictions are rarely pronounced, which might indicate poor performance. That is why the final assessment of our work is the verdict of the court.
Does criminal investigation suffer from a large shortage?
The number of all units of the criminal investigation department for today is 10.7 thousand employees. The shortage is 11%. Criminal investigation department suffers from a constant change of personnel.
As for the material component. The average salary of an officer in the regional divisions is about $380, in the central office, it is about $460. In addition, our employees receive free medical care and have paid leave. The working day is not standardized.
Is the criminogenic situation in Ukraine is influenced by criminals from the other countries?
Criminal migration has always existed. We detain "code-bound criminals" who come to our country, including from the Russian Federation. Often they illegally, omitting the checkpoints, cross the border. Many people from the near abroad, specializing in qualified burglaries, robberies and other types of crimes.
There is a special procedure according to which foreigners are prohibited from entering the territory of Ukraine in the manner prescribed by law if they pose a threat to the national interests of the country. We actively use this norm to protect the legitimate interests of our citizens. Information on such persons is sent to the migration service or the Security Service for the decision on the legality of their stay on the territory of Ukraine.