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Expanded meeting of Interior Ministry Board

February 28, 2018, Moscow

Vladimir Putin took part in the annual expanded meeting of the Interior Ministry Board.

The discussion focused on the performance of the Interior Ministry bodies in 2017 and the key priorities for 2018.

The main report was made by Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

Today, as we do every year, we will analyse in detail the results of the Interior Ministry’s work over the past period, discuss tasks for the future and measures that will further enhance the protection of citizens' rights, fight crime, and ensure order in the streets and on the roads.

I would like to note that in 2017, the Interior Ministry reinforced a number of positive trends. Thus, the number of solved crimes increased, including murders, armed assaults and apartment burglaries. There was a decline in street crime, although an insignificant one. Public order during major international events, such as the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi, was ensured at a high level.

However, the situation is not as good in other areas. You know that the overall number of solved crimes dropped to almost 43 percent. In recent years, this indicator has been unstable, growing and then decreasing again. Unfortunately, the situation has not seriously changed for the better so far. Hence, the key principle of the inevitability of punishment is not fully implemented. This, of course, is a concern for our society and our citizens, and the Interior Ministry bodies must not become reconciled with the situation.

Let me stress one more time the need to substantially improve the quality of investigation and interrogation. You know better than anybody else does how important talent and professionalism are in this activity. Those who honestly and courageously do their duty deserve your all-around support. You must operate in such a way that those guilty of crimes are unable to get away with it.

Ensuring public safety is one such important objective. Any disturbance on the streets, transport, at sports venues or entertainment events requires a prompt response. It is also necessary to expand the use of modern technology, to reach out to voluntary public order squads and other public structures to help the police duty details.

The security of public institutions, especially educational institutions, should also remain a priority. Let me highlight this point. We need to do everything so that our children benefit from a living and learning environment that is calm and safe, and reduce the possible infractions to a minimum.

In 2017, the juvenile crime rate went down by 16 percent. Nevertheless, reducing this indicator should remain a priority for you. You need to promptly respond to all signals coming from teachers, parents and school students, and to be proactive in preventing juvenile crime. This effort should not be limited to those from the so-called high-risk groups. It is not uncommon for children from well-off families to find themselves in dire straits. It is essential that urgent issues are identified and dealt with in a timely manner so that they do not result in disaster or tragedy.

Priorities for the Interior Ministry also include countering extremism. Last year, the crime rate increased by 5 percent in this category. A number of groups are arrogant and defiant in their actions. They use social media to incite ethnic and religious intolerance, they organise public campaigns without proper authorisation, and seek to recruit young people. We need to be resolute in disrupting their activity and holding their organisers accountable.

Any illegal action designed to sow division in society and destabilise it is a serious threat, and it is your direct responsibility to neutralise it without delay.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in 11 Russian cities, will begin in less than six months. We must host this tournament at the highest level and, first and foremost, ensure maximum security for both the athletes and football fans.

You will be playing a crucial role in addressing this issue. You already have great positive experience in this area. I have no doubt that in any situation that may arise during the tournament you will act consistently, in strict compliance with the law. How the tournament will be held and our country’s image will depend directly on how efficiently and competently you do your job.

Comrades, combating economic crimes is one of the Interior Ministry’s most important areas of work. Step by step, we must clear the banking system, the fuel-and-energy complex, the manufacturing and construction industries of crime and “grey”, shadow schemes.

Of course, we must pay special attention to creating a favourable business environment, protecting the legitimate interests of businesses, thoroughly investigating cases of pressuring entrepreneurs and their groundless prosecution, including by law enforcement agencies, which is absolutely unacceptable. Tomorrow I will expand on this in the Address to the Federal Assembly. These are a special kind of crime, because they undermine people’s faith in the law, justice and freedom of economic activity.

We must keep up the momentum in combating corruption, be more active in exposing those who profit at the government’s expense or use their positions or authority to enrich themselves, and respond immediately to people’s complaints about various kinds of extortion.

This year Russia will start implementing the new Road Safety Strategy, which will place increased demands on the relevant bodies of the Interior Ministry. Last year saw a drop in the number of registered road accidents, but the number of victims is still high. Overall, the number of road accidents in 2017 went down by 3.9 percent, while the number of casualties decreased by 7.9 percent, and the number of those injured – by 3.9 percent. These numbers are good enough as a trend, but the absolute numbers are still much too high. Together with your colleagues at the Healthcare Ministry, the Emergencies Ministry and other agencies, you will have to carefully analyse this situation and formulate specific proposals on how to proceed in order to keep up this positive momentum.

For the fourth year in a row, the number of road accidents caused by bus drivers has been increasing. I would ask you to more strictly assess their skills. Only professionals should be allowed to drive public transport vehicles.

It is necessary to equip the most complex federal motorways with more modern technical equipment and to deal more thoroughly with problem areas in large cities, especially by eliminating traffic jams. The main thing is that people must see real results of your efforts. Of course, this work should be carried out together with local authorities, but your role is also great.

Drug trafficking remains a serious threat to the state and society. We have just talked about this with the Minister. The number of such crimes continues to grow, though insignificantly.

It is necessary to improve the coordination of anti-drug activities by authorities at all levels and by public organisations, to strengthen cooperation with partners from the countries where the main drug flows originate, as well as through international associations such as the CSTO and the SCO.

It is vital to achieve order in migration. In recent years, the procedure for registering migrants, issuing permits and other documents to them has become much simpler. We must continue to create conditions for the effective regulation of migration flows, for a civilised resolution of all issues arising in this area, and, of course, in no case should we forget about the legitimate interests of our own citizens.

Finally, as for the experts’ proposal, the implementation of which could improve the quality of law enforcement agencies’ work in general. As you know, it has been our practice to assess the work of investigators by the number of cases submitted to court, including cases that must be terminated on non-rehabilitative grounds. These make up about a quarter of all cases, and in fact, at the investigation stage it is clear that they have no prospect for sentencing, have no judicial perspective.

Experts propose introducing changes to departmental regulations of the Interior Ministry, according to which investigators and inquiry officers will not need to send such cases to court to improve reporting. We need to discuss and consider this proposal.

In conclusion, colleagues, I would like to thank you, to thank the leadership of the Interior Ministry, the staff of the central office and regional branches for your work. We know how difficult, diverse and complex it is. I expect that you will continue to perform your tasks in the same responsible manner. I wish you success.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,

Generals, officers, colleagues,

The package of measures to counter challenges and threats to internal security carried out in 2017 allowed the Interior Ministry to keep the operational situation in the country under control.

Today we are not only summing up the results of this work but also assessing the ministry’s readiness to ensure law and order during the forthcoming elections of the President of the Russian Federation, the FIFA World Cup and other major events.

The upgrading of the legislative foundations of law enforcement activities largely helped us reach practical results.

A total of 158 federal laws, 32 presidential executive orders and directives, and 140 government acts were adopted with the participation of the Interior Ministry. The sectoral legal base was modernised. Heads of territorial authorities were given broader powers for resolving organisational and personnel issues. They no longer need to get approval of the ministry’s central office on the composition and strength of units, which made it possible to react more promptly to changes in the crime situation and enhance the efficiency of managerial decisions.

The staff of the Migration Service was increased by 2,500 employees through internal redistribution, and was reduced by 30 percent during its transfer to the Interior Ministry. This improved the quality of services to the population.

We also found the possibility to increase the strength of units in charge of countering drug trafficking by 2,000 employees,

We consolidated territorial bodies at the district level because they bear the main burden of protecting public order and countering crime. In five years, their number grew by almost 15 percent. In 2012, only half of all personal was concentrated at the grass roots level whereas last year its share exceeded 75 percent.

We paid primary attention to the formation and development of our personnel potential. The departmental system of professional training largely meets the needs of internal affairs bodies in specialists in different areas and of various qualification.

We are promoting international cooperation in this area. Last year, the Interior Ministry’s educational establishments trained 700 police officers from 64 countries, and over 1,300 are receiving a university education in Russia.

I would like to mention the positive results of our efforts to create an atmosphere of intolerance towards illegal actions in the service. Over the past five years, the number of reports of bribery attempts submitted by police officers has increased fivefold. Internal control has become more effective. As of now, over 70 percent of those who commit crimes or are guilty of professional misconduct are exposed by their colleagues, primarily internal affairs officers. As a result, the number of those who are guilty of grave professional misconduct has decreased threefold since 2012. The number of prosecuted police personnel has gone down by 10 percent over the past few years. Regrettably, we have not yet reached a turning point in the area of compliance with the law, despite all our efforts.

At the same time, I can say confidently that the overwhelming majority of our colleagues are good professionals and honest people who are ready to risk their lives to help others. Last year alone, 507 police officers received state decorations and nearly 11,000 received service awards for courage and exemplary performance.

Our other priorities include social protection and quality medical assistance.

Following the coming into force in 2011 of the Federal Law on social guarantees, over 10,500 police officers received a lump-sum payment for the purchase or construction of housing. However, this has not settled the housing problem, which has a major influence on the prestige of police service and is a major concern for the officers and their families.

We are taking measures to improve the information infrastructure of police stations based on innovative modern approaches. We use electronic information and analytical systems in our daily work. The systems have over 600,000 users, including from other bodies of state authority.

We have installed 233,000 video monitoring cameras across Russia, as well as 1,200 stations for emergency communication with the police. This helped us to expose over nine million crimes in 2017, or 40 percent more than the year before. We have solved nearly 29,000 crimes.

The provision of public services by police divisions is another important task. The Interior Ministry is doing its best to provide high-quality services to individuals, to make them feel satisfied. The chiefs of territorial divisions are mostly expected to reduce public-service provision deadlines and to create comfortable conditions at reception offices.

In 2017, a total of 2.5 million police service members maintained law and order during major public, political and sports events, primarily during the FIFA Confederations Cup, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and the World Festival of Youth and Students.

We took on responsible tasks during the elections to multi-level legislative and executive bodies and on the unified voting day. About 100,000 candidates running for public offices were screened using the Interior Ministry’s databases. Almost 90,000 service members maintained law and order at the polling stations. Our measures helped prevent major violations of public order.

The most important thing is the implementation of the state traffic safety policy. Relevant federal and regional programmes helped improve the situation on local roads. In the past five years, the number of road accident fatalities decreased by 32 percent, with that of injured persons falling by almost 17 percent.

We worked hard to protect the most vulnerable individuals, mostly children and pedestrians, from road accidents.

Amended legislation stipulates tougher penalties for drivers. We have teamed up with Rostransnadzor [Federal Service for Transport Supervision] to implement additional measures for boosting bus traffic safety. We monitor transport companies and the technical state of their vehicles more closely.

We consider it highly important to expose people repeatedly violating traffic regulations, aggressive drivers and those driving under the influence. Concerned citizens step in to help traffic police officers to monitor the road situation.

We are expanding the use of automatic traffic management systems for monitoring compliance with traffic regulations. Last year, nearly 80 percent of all traffic fines were issued using this technology.

The Interior Ministry unconditionally prioritises crime prevention measures. The degree of this project’s organisation, scale and efficiency have soared appreciably after the relevant Federal Law was passed in 2016.

Today, local authorities implement 4,500 regional and municipal programmes worth a total of 65.5 billion roubles. All the Russian regions and police divisions focus on crime prevention measures regarding children and teenagers from so-called high risk groups. In all, police watched over 290,000 children who had committed various offences, and a third of these young people have already mended their ways. Our measures have made it possible to improve the entire situation. Since back in 2012, the juvenile delinquency rates have decreased by almost one-third. However, the matter of protecting the rights and legal interests of teenagers remains highly important.

We are particularly alarmed by the high level of crime against minors. Unfortunately, they do not always feel safe even when they are at home. Last year alone, police officers monitored 218,000 parents who were not adequately bringing up and supporting their children. At the same time, even insignificant psychological or physical violence might induce teenagers to attempt suicide or to act brutally or aggressively. Mr. President, we intend to step up our efforts in addressing this key task, especially while implementing your Executive Order on declaring the years 2018–2027 a Decade of Childhood in the Russian Federation.

As practice shows, individual efforts guarantee the maximum efficiency of preventive measures. Neighbourhood police officers have the most important role to play in this respect. After reducing the volumes of paperwork and getting rid of any unnecessary functions, their work is becoming more specific and more result-oriented. Neighbourhood police officers are largely responsible for the reduction by 18 percent in the number of grave and very grave cases of domestic violence, including murders and deliberate assault causing GBH.

Police also keep an eye on ex-convicts. In 2017, over 100,000 ex-convicts were subject to administrative supervision. This measure made it possible to achieve certain positive results. Over the last five years, the number of crimes committed by ex-convicts has decreased by almost 19 percent.

Addition efforts have been made against illegal migration. Last year, the police exposed over 775,000 offences in this field, including over 126,000 during Operation Nelegal (Illegal). Nearly 69,000 foreign citizens have been evicted or deported. Over 190,000 have been prohibited from entering Russia. Overall, 1,200 proceedings have been initiated against the organisers of illegal migration and nearly 32,000 on fake migrant registration charges.

These measures have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of illegal migrants. As of now, the number of migrants who enter Russia legally is growing. More migrants receive permanent or temporary residence permits. Another major achievement is that the crime rate among migrants has decreased by 7 percent.

Our main responsibilities include investigation and criminal procedure. I would like to say that our police consider over 30 million reports and other information about crime every day. In addition, the number of public appeals pertaining to various aspects of police work is increasing. There were 3.8 million such appeals last year alone. Processing this amount of information in conditions of personnel cuts is increasing the workload on our officers. I would like to remind you that the number of our personnel has decreased by 438,000 over the past few years.

In all, the police solved over 900,000 criminal offences last year. The Interior Ministry monitored the investigations of high profile cases. Personnel from the ministry’s central office were dispatched to the regions to help the local police investigate these crimes.

We are taking measures to combat ethnic crime as per the May 2012 Presidential Executive Orders. Last year, we cut short the operation of 66 such organised crime groups and initiated criminal proceedings against more than 500 active members of these groups.

Mr President, seeking to implement your instructions, we have redoubled efforts to identify those guilty of offences against the individual, primarily violent crimes.

Overall, the murder clearance rate has increased considerably over the past five years and has reached nearly 92 percent. We solve 93.5 percent of cases of grievous bodily harm and nearly 98 percent of rape cases.

The share of solved robbery cases increased from 49 to 66 percent, and that of solved violent robbery cases rose from 67 to 79 percent. This was largely attributable to the introduction of new methods and tools for detecting traces on the scene, as well as improvements in methods for analysing physical evidence.

The network of DNA laboratories continued to expand. Only last year, these laboratories opened in five regions, reaching a total of 66.

The quality of preliminary investigative activity has improved, and the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens are now better respected during investigations. In 2017, the number of abandoned criminal cases dropped by 44 percent, while the number of people who faced unjustified detention was down by 21 percent. There were also fewer decisions to suspend investigations due to failure to identify or find the alleged perpetrator.

Even though there were some improvements, the rights of victims remain a matter of grave concern. The crime-solving rate for offences against property involving computer and telecommunications technology is still very low. In today’s world, offences of this kind cause the greatest amount of harm to people. Additional efforts are required to ensure better property protection.

Last year, police officers did a lot to find missing or wanted people. As many as 61,000 people hiding from investigative and court authorities were detained, and more than 40,000 missing people were found. Rescue and search operations, including finding children, were carried out in cooperation with the Emergencies Ministry and representatives of the volunteer movement. In this regard, I would like to say that the Interior Ministry looks forward to further engaging with volunteer organisations and is committed to assisting them in every possible way. In addition to this, almost 2,700 alleged perpetrators placed on the wanted list by foreign law enforcement agencies were detained as part of our international cooperation efforts.

A set of measures was undertaken to counter drug trafficking, and curtail drug supply and demand as part of the State Anti-Narcotics Policy Strategy.

We conducted a number of dedicated operational and preventive initiatives, including on an international level, to eliminate the production of banned substances as well as their imports.

All in all, 66 organised crime groups specialising in selling drugs were shut down. Almost 210,000 drug-related crime cases were detected, and 95 percent of them were detected by Interior Ministry workers. More than 24,000 tonnes of regulated and banned substances were confiscated.

The police are contributing to strengthening the country’s economic security. They account for 85 percent of all crimes identified by law enforcement agencies in this category.

Increasing the level of security in the Russian economy has become significantly more relevant in the context of a hostile foreign policy environment. In this context, combating the misappropriation of public funds, first and foremost, of those allocated for social sphere projects, large investment projects, import replacement and the development of small and medium-sized businesses, has become a matter of primary importance.

At the same time, we have strengthened the monitoring of funding and financing, in order to combat the illegal cash-out and transfer of funds abroad as well. We recorded over 30,000 such crimes, which resulted in total losses of over 76 billion rubles. We took measures aimed at repairing losses amounting to 35 billion rubles.

The situation with housing and utilities services remains complicated. Excessive tariffs, misappropriation of public funds and abuse of authority by management companies and homeowners associations still take place.

Together with the relevant ministries, we carried out anti-corruption activities. As a result, we recorded almost 30,000 crimes, three quarters of which were recorded by the police. The total amount of losses was estimated at 37.5 billion rubles. We took measures to repair these losses in the amount of 26.5 billion rubles. The Interior Ministry identified 13,000 individuals involved in crimes of corruption, with every twelfth individual employed in the executive or legislative branches.

In the context of the anti-corruption system formed at the governmental level, we focused on recording crimes that presented the greatest public danger. The number of recorded acts of organised crime increased: compared to 2012, the number of recorded crimes increased by 44 percent; while the number of recorded crimes committed on a large or especially large scale increased by two and a half times.

At the same time, several economy sectors still have a high level of crime. For example, the situation is difficult in the fuel and energy complex of the North Caucasus Federal District, with large energy resource embezzlement and corruption.

In addition to this, we need to promote work to prevent companies’ premeditated bankruptcy, first of all those of strategic importance for Russia’s security and those with state participation.

We must adjust ways and methods of fighting business crimes to lower administrative pressure on businesses. Of course, we must react to law infringements, but I mean that we must only conduct our duties within a legal framework. No one should doubt the legitimacy of our actions. Not only economic departments but also all those with oversight functions must comply with this demand.

Another key task is to counter extremism effectively, first of all, its organized forms. According to the Ministry’s material, last year four organisations were banned as extremist groups in accordance with established procedure. Active members of the most dangerous nationalist groups were arrested in several Russian regions.

A lot of attention was focused on preventing the spread of destructive ideology on the internet. Leaders of radical organisations are using it more often now to enlist new members, coordinate actions and organise extremist rallies. Today we monitor over 2,000 websites including popular social networks. We do not only look for prohibited content and ban it from access, but we also try to prevent it, especially from getting into the hands of young people.

We are also implementing a number of measures to prevent nationalistic and religious conflicts. There have been no high-profile crimes that could have provoked an escalation of tension in society.

Thanks to the increased efforts of the law enforcement agencies, we have managed to lower the level of extremism at the initial stage of radicalization. The number of violent actions in this area has gone down more than 2.5 times over the last three years.

The Interior Ministry has been contributing on a system-wide basis to counter-terrorism initiatives. Working together with security agencies and a unit of the National Guard, we liquidated 14 international terrorist cells and three armed gangs. We also monitored migration flows to prevent combatants from entering Russian territory. At the same time, we sought to identify persons seeking to leave for the Middle East to fight in armed conflicts.

The temporary operations group formed by Interior Ministry units and detachments made a substantial contribution to neutralising terrorist threats and promoting overall stabilisation in the North Caucasus. In 2017, the Interior Ministry, together with the Federal Security Service and the National Guard, conducted a total of 14 counter-terrorist operations and more than 16,000 operative actions.

Mr President, when you set out the state policy priorities during your 2012 election campaign, you made a special emphasis on the need to improve the safety of the population. Today, I can say with confidence that the initiatives that were taken by the Interior Ministry helped drastically reduce crime levels in Russia. Over the last five years, the overall crime rate declined, with a drop of almost 25 percent for serious and very serious crimes. There were fewer murders with the crime rate in this category down by more than 25 percent, and the number of armed robbery cases dropped by more than 50 percent. Burglaries and theft, as well as a number of other types of serious offences are also on the decline.

What people think about law enforcement is of course the main and the most objective criterion when it comes to evaluating our performance. Independent research shows that trust towards police officers is steadily increasing.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank the Interior Ministry personnel for their responsible and scrupulous work. I would like to thank the heads of ministries and agencies, members of the State Duma and the Federation Council, and civil society representatives for their constructive and fruitful cooperation. We are committed to further stepping up our joint efforts in countering the current security challenges and threats, and doing everything within our authority to ensure law and order in the country.

This ends my report.

Vladimir Putin: Comrades, my opening remarks and the Minister’s report focused on what has been done and the areas where we saw positive change. Of course, we need to make sure that these trends carry on.

There are problems you all know about, and they were mentioned today as well. They require special attention.

Of course, we have a very important event in terms of domestic politics ahead of us, the presidential election. Every citizen has his or her own opinion on what to do during the election campaign and how to express his or her opinion. The law and law enforcement agencies must guarantee that all legal ways of expressing one’s opinion can be used.

At the same time, those organising any kind of events must act strictly within the confines of the law. This is something both law enforcement agencies and organisers of any campaigns or initiatives should keep in mind. For this reason, I call on you to make use of all the mechanisms available to you under the current laws to ensure public order and legality in our country.

Let me thank you once again for your efforts in 2017 and wish you future success.

Thank you very much.

February 28, 2018, Moscow