Chyngyz Kambarov, Lieutenant Colonel of Police of the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry, wrote an article "Organized Criminal Groups in Kyrgyzstan and the Role of Law Enforcement" for the Voices from Central Asia.
The conclusion of the paper as follows:
The merging of criminal organizations with radical groups is an urgent problem for Kyrgyzstan that will only get worse with time if political leaders do not focus on how to prevent it.
The issue of radicalism was officially discussed by some of Kyrgyzstan’s top officials in February 2014.
The discussions made clear that new programs, concepts, and strategies will remain ineffective without political and economic stability and the population’s trust in the security forces, notably the police.
The public would be more willing to report crimes to law enforcement agencies if they had its trust. The Republic of Georgia can be seen as a successful example of gaining people’s trust in police in the post-Soviet era.
Although some experts have warned that police reform fell short in Georgia, the result of this reform effort speaks for itself. There is no doubt that reform needs financial and human resources, but more importantly it needs political will, which the leadership of the Georgian state had and applied.
When state leaders do not have the requisite political will, the routine work of the existing system will continue, and consequently people lose trust in it. Strategies and concepts to counter terrorism and organized crime will remain on paper only.
The current state of affairs will be hard to change while sections of the public support the current conditions because of personal and financial connections.
But many political, economic, social, and security issues can be overcome by hiring decent and qualified personnel in government, security agencies, and police departments through transparent selection procedures and merit-based promotion.
It would be preferable to see the establishment of a separate state agency explicitly committed to fighting terrorism and religious extremism. But there is no financial means for this in Kyrgyzstan.
This entails that the state should strengthen the existing police force through training, capacity building, and providing technical and other support for preventing terrorism.
Kyrgyzstan’s leaders must forge some political will, provide financial backing, and gain the support of the public, if they are to make any drastic changes or reforms in the security sector, and particularly in law enforcement agencies.
The Voices from Central Asia series is a platform for experts from Central Asia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, and the neighboring countries. The series promotes the diversity of opinions expressed by Central Asians and is a venue for researchers, senior officials, opposition figures, and civil society activists.
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