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FBI to train 50 police in Odessa

July 25, 2015

According to Governor Saakashvili (and not unsurprisingly if true), the Oblast and the FBI have reached agreement upon training 50 police officers.

These 50 police officers will be trained separately from the rest of the Oblast police – necessarily so, for detective training, if done properly, is a very intense and fairly long course that concentrates upon specific areas of policing rather than traffic or general policing.

It is unclear whether these 50 officers will be drawn from the existing ranks or not, although every police officer should have a full understanding of general policing prior to specialising, so from amongst the existing ranks would seem most likely.

It is also unclear as to the purpose of this 50 officer team.

If the FBI are training them, then presumably a good deal of time will be spent upon learning how to get the most from witnesses and the contents of witness statements, interview techniques (which is an art if done properly – especially with the most uncooperative of suspects), evidence chains and evidence chain integrity, crime scene management, some basic surveillance techniques, what is – and is not – agent provocateur vis a vis participating informants/undercover work, informant motivation, recruitment, handling, controlling  etc.  The usual stuff of investigative training, none of which is rocket science but none of which offers any short cuts if it is to be done properly.

So be it.  No doubt a necessary step as a stop-gap whilst all eyes and attention will remain upon the new “Police” that begin patrolling in late August and will undoubtedly be monitored for a year or so before significant funds and expertise are thrown at the specialised police units.

FBI

The purpose of these 50 officers, however, remains somewhat unclear at the time of writing.

Are they to act as a nucleus of investigative detectives for the entire Oblast that are FBI trained and free (presumably) of corruption?  If so, who decides which incidents get the FBI trained and (presumably) untainted detectives, and which continue to get the probably inadequately trained and sullied detectives?  Who decides who decides, for the police should be a-political and therefore allocate its resources as it deems appropriate.

Would they, and indeed will they, be tasked with policing the police?  An Oblast complaints and discipline team tasked with investigating complaints against other officers and/or rumours of incidents and/or corruption that would have significant disciplinary implications?

Clearly those tasked with “policing the police” internally within Odessa Oblast do a very poor job currently.

Will they perhaps be tasked with investigating the regional “big fish” with regards to their criminality and nefarious “business” activities?  Some form of “Oblast Crime Squad” with a broad mandate to tread upon certain parts of the SBU, shestoe otdelenie milicii po borbe s organizovannoy prestypnostu (aka UBOB), and other empirical toes?

Their task to deliver cases with all points to prove covered, all statutory defences negated, all evidence and evidence chains maintained complete integrity, to the point the corrupt and/or inept Odessa prosecutors have no choice but to proceed, and the corrupt Odessa judiciary can find no fault in the investigation or evidence presented?

That such a team is apparently to be formed and trained in the Oblast, hopefully would indicate that there is sufficient flexibility in the Oblast police structure to create such teams to target specific local area policing requirements.

If that be so, then hopefully there is sufficient flexibility for the Oblast to dissolve or merge other existing units.  That flexibility however, remains to be seen, for there are the inevitable turf wars over who has accepted responsibility for what sphere of policing, and also between the management of those spheres and units within – a situation not unique to Ukraine of course.

Which brings us to the next question.  Under whose direct policing roof, will the new FBI trained team sit?  Directly under the Oblast Police Chief, or under the existing heads of the criminal, organised crime, or whatever existing policing branch within the Oblast, who after all answer to the Oblast Police Chief anyway?

Questions of Oblast policing structure and policing plans and unit purposes once again arise.

It is perhaps time for Giya Lordkipanidze to present an Oblast policing plan and outline the policing structure that is to be.

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