Bulgaria Border Poilice 'Ill-Prepared', Its Fmr Chief Says after Migrant Death

Incidents | October 20, 2015, Tuesday // 10:01|  views

The incident of last week happened 30 km into Bulgarian territory. Photo by BGNES

The quality of training and preparation of border police officers in Bulgaria has become extremely low over the past years, a former border police chief said on Tuesday.

Commenting on the incident last week when an Afghan man died after being hit by a bullet fired by a police officer as a warning shot that rebounded, he added other recent events such as the death of a commando in a special operation i Lyaskovets were a sign of mismanagement.

In an interview with private bTV station Gen Valeri Grigorov, who served as head of border police between 2000 and 2005 pointed to a number of mistakes done by the officers who allowed the incident to happen 30 km from Bulgaria's border with Turkey.

The integrated border security system was triggered as movement was detected at the border, and a border police team only found the migrant group 30 km into Bulgarian territory.

"If they had had more information they would have been better prepared," he added and explained that sending a group of only several people to track down the migrants had been an inadequate response.

A mistake by the police officers who faced the group of migrants minutes before the tragic incident was that they found themselves just meters away from a group of 54 people. "It is the same as entering a group of Levski and CSKA fans," he opined, Levski and CSKA football clubs being known for having some particularly aggressive groups of supporters.

The former police chief also warned of the devastating impact of political decisions on his department, with the number of officers dwindling from 9000 in 2006 to 2015 now.

He added police officers were previously told they should only draw their weapons when there it is likely to be used, whereas in the present conditions they tended to do so more often.

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Tags: migrant, Afghan, Border Police, Bulgaria, turkey, Valeri Grigorov


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