THE INTERIOR Ministry has introduced a new system for protecting public order in areas suffering from elevated crime levels. The SITA newswire reported that the system, begun on January 1, is “directed primarily at Roma settlements that have had a high number of criminal offences and infringements of peaceful coexistence”.
The ministry will significantly strengthen special police units in two phases, in January and in March. The number of police officers in motorised patrols will rise by 175 and the number of SWAT team members will rise by 25 in regions with elevated crime rates – Prešov, Košice and Banská Bystrica, SITA wrote.
In Prešov Region, 15 more Roma security specialists will work in Roma communities fighting crime and loansharking.
The ministry stated that under the new system police officers who in the past spent time in their offices will now be deployed on the streets.
Mayors of towns and villages which have had problems in the past said, according to the Sme daily, that they welcome the intensified police activity but doubt whether repressive measures will be the appropriate solution unless legislative changes are also made.
In Ostrovany, a municipality divided by a wall that separates a Roma settlement from the rest of the village, the number of petty crimes, especially thefts, has decreased but the mayor, Cyril Revák, believes this is due to the wall rather than because of an increased number of motorised police patrols.
The municipal council of Ostrovany is now considering extending the 150-metre-long wall, Sme wrote.
The Ostrovany wall was featured in news reports shortly before Christmas when the word “Prepáčte” (Sorry), written in large letters by an unknown author, appeared on the wall.
10. Jan 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff