Speaking about Georgia, the thing that everybody usually remembers the first is the police reform. And indeed, the most notable changes took place in this field. Before Saakashvili’s accession to power the Georgian Interior Ministry was considered synonymous with corruption, lawlessness and thieves in law, but now this opinion has changed to opposite. The Georgian police hasn’t been taking bribes for already several years and, according to surveys, 87% of Georgian people have trust in this organization (only the Orthodox Church has the greater authority). Ordinary citizens say that getting rid of the traffic police was a great relief for the people… Now a Georgian police officer receives a salary of $ 500-700 (which is higher than the national average), doesn’t take bribes, polite and punctual.
In 2004, right after Saakashvili’s victory in elections and the fire of the heads of all the law enforcement agencies of Georgia, the road inspection became the main target of the reformers. Misha (this is not the display of familiarity, the president is called in this way even on official sites) set an ultimatum: if extortions on roads don’t stop during a week, he will fire all the policemen.
The first months after the reform turned out very hard for traffic police officers. They were photographed with a candid camera by intelligence agents and those who were caught taking bribes (more than $50) were sent to prison for 10 years.
In this way, the first day resulted in 15 thousand fired police officers. A little bit later – the same number. Georgia lived without the traffic police for 3 months. During this time, all efforts were made to train new young employees. As a result, 85% of the staff was replaced by new people. Just imagine, before Saakashvili there were 5.000 prisoners in Georgia’s prisons and after a year of reforms – 25.000!
The employees of the so-called new “patrols” were provided with such cars as Volkswagen, Passat, Opel and Skoda, which gave them a better opportunity to chase criminals on the streets of Georgian cities.
Simultaneously with these changes, the authorities launched a campaign promoting the police. The billboards depicting smiling “patrols” of both sexes were hung on many streets. Police officers started going to schools and give lessons to children.
The Georgian police doesn’t hide in the bushes. At night their cars must always have the emergency lights activated.
This is the service agency of the Ministry of the Interior, where you can take exams, get a driving license or register your weapons. Up to 2.000 people are served here every day.
You must be at least 18 years old to get a driving license. To pass an exam you have to pay a $35 fee. Examinations are similar to the Russian ones. At first, you go through theory, then – practice.
In Georgia, you don’t have to spend the whole day in a hospital in order to get a health certificate for getting a driving license. Now there is a single database where the Georgian police can find all the information about your problems with drugs or state of mind. In case of such problems, the system will refuse to give you the driving license and nothing/nobody will be able to help. In Russia, everything is different. Virtually all drivers buy health certificates. In Moscow, they cost from 1.000 to 1.500 rubles (about $ 35-50) and can be easily bought near every department of the traffic police.
A theory exam can be taken in 8 languages, including Russian. 30 questions, the maximum number of errors – 3.