Chief Commissar: Police Brutality in Bulgaria Is Myth

Society | November 8, 2011, Tuesday // 16:48|  views

Head Secretary of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry, Chief Commissar, Kalin Georgiev, stands firm on the side of his "men" when it comes to police brutality. Photo by BGNES

Police brutality in Bulgaria is a myth, according to the Head Secretary of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry, Chief Commissar, Kalin Georgiev.

Georgiev spoke Tuesday in interviews for the State-owned Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) and Television (BNT) in the occasion of October 8 – the official professional day of Bulgarian police employees, where he also addressed the Interior's 54 000-strong staff.

"I don't see any of this overblown police brutality," Georgiev told BNT.

When the host countered data shows that in 2010, there were 283 pre-trial proceedings against alleged crimes, committed by police employees, of which 74 were on charges of police brutality, the Chief Commissar replied that out of 54 000, 70 is statistics speaking well about the police.

Six months ago, however, Deputy Interior Minister, Veselin Vuchkov, in an unprecedented for an Interior official move, said amendments to the Interior Ministry Act were needed to limit police brutality and admitted the existence of such problem.

The amendments were provoked by several reports of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) and the Open Society Institute showing the authorities continue to overlook the issue and the rules of the European Human Rights Court.

According to BHC data, the European Court had found Bulgaria guilty of police brutality in 27 cases between 1998 and 2000, and ruled damages to the claimants totaling nearly BGN 1 M.

Georgiev, however, stressed in the Tuesday interviews that there is no other country where a police officer can be showed and kicked and the perpetrator to not receive severe punishment.

The Chief Commissar further told BNR that out of 286 known organized crime bosses, 134 have been neutralized by the police. He admitted there is increased street crime in the country, pointing out the solution is increased police presence.

"Here, however, we fall under Catch 22 – are we enough or too many – when someone falls victim of a crime, all say – where is the police, otherwise they say – there are too many policemen not doing anything," Georgiev concluded.

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Tags: Head Secretary, interior ministry, Chief Commissar, Kalin Georgiev, police brutality, Veselin Vuchkov, BHC, Open Society Institute, European Human Rights Court, myth


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