Kyrgyz Police Short on Public Support

Kyrgyz Police Short on Public Support

Public confidence in Kyrgyzstan’s police force is generally low, a straw poll conducted by IWPR shows. 

Interviews with residents and visitors in the capital Bishkek tended to confirm the findings of Cholpon Jakypova of the Adilet legal advice centre, who says confidence in the interior ministry’s uniformed force has sunk to a low level.

“Over the last five years, people have been extremely reluctant to go to them [police] and do so only as a last resort,” Jakypova said.

For many, encounters with the interior ministry’s uniformed force are best avoided, as officers are liable to extort money or detain them for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“They’re very corrupt. It’s all money, money, and that’s all,” said one interviewee.

Others did say they felt positive about the police as an institution that kept order.

Interior ministry spokesman Rahmatillo Ahmedov insisted that people did trust the police, citing high numbers of phone calls to report crimes and pass on information.

“The police and the public constitute one single whole,” he said.

In the second piece in this package, IWPR interviewed Sergei Makarov, who has recently moved from Georgia to Kyrgyzstan and was shocked at the differences in police behaviour.

He argued that under President Mikhael Saakashvili, the Georgian police had been transformed into a helpful and friendly force, whereas his initial observations were that the Kyrgyz police remained unreformed and still aimed to punish rather than prevent crime.

The audio programme, in Russian and Kyrgyz, went out on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


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