US trained Ukrainian police to tackle graft

A new US trained police force will replace the previously corrupt police force to enforce new reforms.

US trained Ukrainian police to tackle graft

World Bulletin / News Desk

The first 2,000 recruits of a new Ukrainian police force passed out in the capital Kiev at the weekend, intended by the government as a visible sign of its commitment to shake off a deep-rooted culture of corruption in public institutions.

Trained by U.S. and Canadian forces, and given less militaristic uniforms and the name 'Politsiya' to mark a break with the old, Soviet-style 'Militsiya', the young officers pledged to forsake the bribes associated with their job.

President Petro Poroshenko told the force, which will first patrol big towns and then be deployed across the country, that it was their task not only to uphold the law but "also to make people believe that reforms are inevitable".

It was perhaps the most visible break with Ukraine's Soviet past since pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovichwas ousted in February last year by the "Maidan" protests against corruption and in favour of closer ties withwestern Europe.

But the new force, whose navy blue uniforms and caps would not look out of place on the streets of New York, will have its work cut out in a society where police and courts are widely seen as favouring the powerful, and bribes are used for everything from avoiding speeding penalties to getting into good schools.

In a poll released last month by the Razumkov Centre, an independent research group, respondents scored the progress of reforms at only two or three out of 10. Almost 81 percent thought the fight against corruption was not working.

"I want to believe it," said Natalia, a middle-aged woman who did not want to give her last name, after watching the new recruits stand to attention to be addressed by Poroshenko.

"I hope, deep in my soul, that something will change for the better."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Temmuz 2015, 15:54