Egert Belitšev: PPA lacks resources for major crises, can manage daily role

Egert Belitšev appearing on 'Ringvaade', Friday, December 2, 2022.
Egert Belitšev appearing on 'Ringvaade', Friday, December 2, 2022. Source: ERR

While the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has sufficient people to perform daily tasks, it lack strength when it comes to more serious crises, the potential new chief of police says.

Lt. Col. Egert Belitšev is currently serving as the PPA's deputy director general for border management, and on Friday, Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets put him forward as his chosen candidate to head up the authority.

Talking to ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Friday, Belitšev said that he accepted Läänemets' proposal that he, Belitšev, replace Elmar Vaher as PPA chief, when the latter's term ends.

"I took this decision with confidence, knowing that I have a team who I can do anything and achieve great things with," he told "Ringvaade".

At the same time, while the PPA has the people to deal with the force's day-to-day tasks, it lacks strength when it comes to major crises. 

Lower salaries have also been tempting people away from the PPA to other jobs, or held them back from joining in the first place, he added.

Nevertheless, a greater involvement by volunteers, including auxiliary police personnel, would help, he said, adding that the example of the Ukraine war might encourage more altuism.

"Perhaps in the light of the Ukraine crisis, Estonia's people have demonstrated that they want to help and to contribute to the welfare of this country. Our task at the PPA is to provide such people that opportunity, and to find a place for each and every person within a system where they can contribute to national security," he continued.

Belitšev said, however, he would not make sweeping changes to the management of the PPA, compared with Elmar Vaher's work.

"Looking back over the past ten years, and Elmar Vaher's tenure as director of the PPA, we have actually been in constant crises for the last three of these years."

"We have demonstrated as an agency how people can cope in crises, how the PPA can handle crises, and what the PPA's capacity to resolve crises is. In fact, public trust in the police is very high," he went on.

"This means that there is actually no need to make a 180-degree turn for this ship, which is PPA as a large state institution," Belitšev added.

The force still needed to be prepared for future crises as well, however, Belitšev said, calling any expectations of a swift resolution of the current crisis "naive".

Interior Minister Läänemets proposal of Belitšev was confirmed Friday, even as Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) had proposed Krista Aas as new PPA chief.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte,Merili Nael

Source: "Ringvaade", Anna Pihl

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