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.
A practice exam is taken in Skodas with the manual transmission.
Everything is recorded on a computer.
The registration of a vehicle.
If a person wants to register or deregister his car, he addresses himself to one of the girls at the desk and she fills all the required documents. The entire procedure, including customs clearance, takes no more than 15 minutes.
The client chooses any license plate number represented on all the shelves except for the first one (the numbers on the first shelf are not free).
The registration price is $40. It includes services, a registration certificate and a license plate number itself.
If you don’t like the number, you can choose any other if you wish. The price is fixed and depends on the number of identical letters and digits. A standard number consists of three letters and three digits. Depending on the combination, the service will cost from $ 70 to 450.
But if you have money, you can depart from these rules. In Georgia, there is an opportunity to make absolutely any license plate. This service costs $ 6.500. For example, the plate with the name “ILYA” is still available. Over all the time only 65 short license plate numbers were sold. If you have no money at the moment, you can book the one you like. This service costs 70 cents per day.
The equipment for printing numbers.
The master dials the signs and place the plate under the press.
While the client pays the fee, the license plate number is already done.
It takes only 5 minutes to make a license plate number. As for the whole procedure of the registration of a vehicle, it takes approximately 10 minutes. Everything is automated.
The requirements for those who want to become a patrol officer:
▪ Georgian citizenship
▪ The age of 23-37 years old
▪ The knowledge of a Georgian (state) language
▪ Higher or incomplete higher education
▪ The knowledge of the Georgian Constitution (basic clauses)
▪ A driving License
The representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, tax authorities and customs are all in the building and all problems can be solved immediately.
The agency operates 365 days a year without holidays and weekends.
All fees are paid in the same hall at the bank department. Pay attention to the number of windows.
Near the parking lot you can see a booth where registration certificates are printed. So while a visitor fastens a new license plate number, his registration certificate is already done.
Two employees engaged here.
All new police stations are made as transparent as possible so that any passer-by could see what was happening inside.
A patrol policeman: “Previously, those who informed against bribetakers were considered bastards. And now – those who cover them and who themselves take bribes.”
The dining room in the building of the Georgian Ministry of the Interior.
The arms of patrol officers include Israeli-made pistols “Jericho-941”, rubber batons and electric shockers.
In conclusion, it should be noted that such remarkable changes took place not everywhere. As one police officer said: “Yes, the traffic police is now absolutely different but investigators and detectives are still the same that’s why it’s a mistake to think that rudeness and corruption has disappeared entirely from this sphere.” But still it’s a considerable step towards success, don’t you think so?