Ministry of Internal Affairs temporarily simplifies staff recruitment procedure
A recent order of the Minister of Internal Affairs has changed certain rules of the personnel regulation (#39, 25 January 2013). The Minister’s order means that it is now possible for many important positions to be appointed, or promoted, without taking any professional educational program or training courses. Numbered among these positions are: the head of police patrol units, or higher officials, heads and deputy heads of the operative department, detectives, district Inspector-investigators, and border police officers.
The change in the aforementioned rule means that now one can nominate or promote a person without any professional training and corresponding exam within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Minister’s order is in force until March 31, 2013. Although in force for a relatively short period of time, it is just long enough to create substantial risks. One obvious example being the danger attached to filling the position of police officer with someone who is neither competent nor meets the existing requirements.
Furthermore, one must ask the legitimate questions as to why it has become necessary to temporarily waive the professional educational programs and training programs. Transparency International Georgia requested the Ministry of Internal Affairs to explain the reasons of issuing such an order.
The Interior Ministry responded by letter on March 7, 2013. The letter stated that the MInistry is conducting fundamental changes in the system. The Special Operative Department (SOD) is being merged with the Criminal Police Department. One difference between the organisations being that the law enforcers from the SOD were not obliged to go through the special educational programs. According to the Ministry, educational programs require time and would cause problems in hiring additional staff. The Ministry of Internal Affairs also notes that the patrolling areas of the Patrol Police have been extended, and thus they had to deploy extra enforced units of policemen. The letter also refers to the fact that the Ministry has conducted its own tests for its employees, which aimed to check their knowledge, professional skills and performance. It was also mentioned that the Ministry plans intensive retraining of workers, based on the results of the test. The letter also states that the Order #39 is in full compliance to the Law.
Transparency International Georgia would like to thank the the Ministry of Internal Affairs for its timely response and for providing the reasons of its Order.
Despite the Ministry’s position, it should be noted that the special courses and educational programs serve to increase the professional skills, the knowledge and the objective selection of qualified personnel. By ignoring the vocational education and training programs, the objective selection method is abolished. This means that the risk of subjective decisions and nepotism is increased.
Transparency International Georgia welcomes the ongoing reforms initiated by the Ministry of the Internal Affairs, but would like to point out that hasty actions may harm the reform process, which could in turn lead to a negative rather than a positive result. The Police training program is an important part of the reform. The educational programs must not be left behind and must be updated alongside the reform. This process should be carried out so that it does not harm the quality of the Ministry’s work. This reform should be above suspicion and shouldn’t raise doubts among the people. Therefore there must be no risk of nepotism and the Ministry must not employ anyone unqualified for their position.