A lack of police presence in the towns and parishes of Ida-Viru County has been chipping away at local residents’ sense of security. The Police and Border Guard Board’s East Prefecture has acknowledged difficulties in the Narva police district and begun to look for solutions.
Questions were raised regarding lack of police presence when the East Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) presented their annual report to local government leaders, and the most concerned were residents of Vaivara parish and the town of Sillamäe, reported Estonian news broadcast “Aktuaalne kaamera”.
Vaivara parish mayor Veikko Luhalaid found that police really were less visible on local streets. “Residents are also complaining that there are too few police and that patrols either don’t manage to respond to emergency calls or arrive at the scene very late,” explained Luhalaid. The parish mayor went on to explain that more emergency calls and fewer patrols meant that police were unable to respond to all reported crimes.
In Narva mayor Tarmo Tammiste’s opinion, police shouldn’t be twiddling their thumbs on every street corner, however law enforcement should still maintain some level of visibility. “Visibility is an essential factor which increases residents’ sense of security as well as shows them that the country cares,” said Tammiste.
Six months ago, the Association of Local Authorities of Ida-Viru County contacted Estonia’s Minister of the Interior, asking the state to look for opportunities to increase the number of police in their region. While according to the ministry there are currently enough police in the region, the East Prefect’s own analysis uncovered a need for an additional five patrol policemen and two additional detectives.
“We have added a few more patrol police positions within the Narva district, and we are actively searching for people to fill those posts,” said Vallo Koppel, prefect of the PPA’s East Prefecture. “We will also have interns soon, as well as new [academy] graduates this summer.”
Law enforcement in the region must know Russian
Estonian Academy of Security Sciences cadets as well as law students will be offered the opportunity to do internships in the PPA’s East Prefecture, and the prefecture would like to attract more assistant police officers to the area, as there are currently few due to the region’s particular linguistic needs.
According to Tammiste, there are assistant police officers who would be happy to work in the Narva district, however they do not meet local de facto language requirements. “It is impossible to work here without knowing Russian,” the mayor of Narva explained. He used an example to illustrate: “A young man comes from Võru County [in Southeastern Estonia]. He has graduated from the police academy, is assigned to work in Narva, is summoned to respond to complaints about a fight in an apartment, rings the doorbell upon arrival, says “Tere!” and then from the other side of the door hears “It’s nothing!” yelled back in Russian. What then?”
Police patrols are planned as needed for significant locations based on safety projections and the operating principles of the county police. Help from the Jõhvi district police is utilized as needed as well to cover the town of Sillamäe and Vaivara parish.
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik