Law enforcement in Azerbaijan

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Law enforcement in Azerbaijan comes under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, which administers the National Police of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Admitted to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on 30 January 1992, with an OSCE office opening in Baku on 16 November 1999,[1] and as a member of INTERPOL, the National police force is well integrated into the law enforcement network of European countries.[1]

Organisation[edit]

Police vehicle in the capital Baku

The National Police force is under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and regulated by the Internal Investigation Department.[1] The latter supervises the police's compliance with law, human rights and civil liberties, and checks for violations of such and any other illegal activities. Directly subordinate to the Ministers, the IID watches over the activities of the police, with a number of divisions dedicated to complaints and organisation difficulties, always as malfeasance matters.[1]

The police force itself also consists of a large number of divisions and departments, ranging from both specialised and regular police divisions, education, training, medical, a National Central Bureau of Interpol, criminal intelligence, administration, investigation and inquest departments, drug abuse control departments, operations and statistics, transportation, traffic police, human resources, communication and planning departments and press services, financial, logsitcs and civil defence.[1]

Law enforcement in the contested regions[edit]

The National Police of the Republic of Azerbaijan are also responsible for enforcing the law in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic via a specialised department of Azerbaijan's Ministry of the Interior[1] and the Nakhchivan City Police Department.[2] Responsibility of enforcing the law in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region still officially recognised as being part of Azerbaijan, is split between the Azerbaijan police force and the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army (see Law enforcement in Nagorno-Karabakh).[3]

Training[edit]

The Azerbaijan National Police Academy was founded in 1921 in Baku as a training establishment for police officers and commanders, and remained there until 1936 when it was relocated to the village of Mardakan.[4] With the country under the sphere of Soviet influence, 1957 saw the police school was renamed the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs Baku Special Police School, which awarded students law degrees after a two year course. From 1957 until 1961, the school also trained personnel from Georgia, Daghestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Altay, Irkutsk, Krasnodar, Kibyshev, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo and Saratov.[4] Following support from Heydar Aliyev, then leader of Azerbaijan, the police school became an Academy on May 23, 1992,[1][4] and now resides in Baku, providing training for personnel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Police Force, as well as offering training programs for foreign organisations on request.

Applicants for full or part-time education in the Academy are given a number of criteria by the police force which must be met before they can be successful. These criteria include physical characteristics (height and fitness) and academic (secondary school graduates, knowledged of literature, history, geography and languages). Successful students who graduate the five year course are awarded qualifications in law and a promotion to lieutenant in the police force.[4] Although there appears to be a formal training path to a police career, most aspiring policeman "buy" the position. You buy your uniform, gun, police car, pay a fee, and presto, you are a policeman. In turn, you collect bribes that form the bulk of your salary.

Crime rates[edit]

Azerbaijan's Ministry of Internal Affairs' three-month analysis in 2006 illustrated that Azerbaijan suffers from extensive narcotics-related crime (one crime from every five criminal events is related to narcotics).[5] The MIA's figures state that this drug trafficking across Azerbaijan's borders is a significant problem, and led to the creation of the National Program for Combating Drug Abuse, Illegal Traffic in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors.[6] Azerbaijan is a party to a number of United Nations anti-drug-trafficking conventions from the years of 1961, 1971 and 1988, however the MIA states that it fails to intercept 90% of drugs that cross the border, and recorded 10965 drug-related cases from 2000 to 2004, seizing 747 kg of narcotics, as well as 10,000 tablets and more than 3,000 ampoules of psychotropic substances. 1221 cultivations of illicit substances, and 2000 tons of cannabis were also destroyed in the same period.[7]

Despite the growing drugs problem, from 1993 to 2004 Azerbaijan enjoyed an overall drop from 246 to 185 crimes per 100,000 of the population[8] which is a drop of 18145 to 16810 recorded crimes, and a rise from 79.5% to 94.2% in the number of cases solved. Murders in Azerbaijan decreased from 478 to 201 per 100,000 and thefts from 4943 to 1775 per 100,000. Theft of motor vehicles and firearms crimes also dropped in a similar manner, however robbery increased from 216 to 672 per 100,000 through the period.[8]Azerbaijan experienced a major shooting spree on April 30, 2009, when either one or two gunmen entered the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, killing 13 and injuring another 13.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe profile page retrieved on May 22, 2007
  2. ^ Ministry of Internal Affairs of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic page retrieved on May 23, 2007
  3. ^ Mr David Atkinson, United Kingdom, European Democrat Group, (Rapporteur) The conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 29 November 2004
  4. ^ a b c d Azerbaijan Police Academy pages retrieved on May 22, 2007
  5. ^ Ministry of Internal Affairs analysis of three months in 2006, retrieved on May 23, 2007
  6. ^ Ministry of the Interior Organizational and practical measures undertaken on narcotics related situation in the Republic of Azerbaija[dead link] retrieved May 23, 2007
  7. ^ Ministry of the Interior Organizational and practical measures undertaken on narcotics related situation in the Republic of Azerbaija[dead link] retrieved May 23, 2007
  8. ^ a b Ministry of the Interior Comparative Statistics retrieved May 23, 2007