POLICING IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge with Experience from the West,
© 1996 College of Police and Security Studies, Slovenia


Atis Meibergs

The same political system has been renewed in Latvia whose activities were stopped before the Second World War.

The conclusion is one - the state whose functioning was stopped in 1940, according to its main features, is identical to the state that renewed its independent activities in 1990.

If till 1991 public order was maintained by Militia in Latvia then on 4 June, 1991 the Republic of Latvia Supreme Soviet passed the law "On Police" that charged the Republic of Latvia Interior Minister with the task to accomplish the reorganization of Militia Institutions according to the law "On Police" by 1 July, 1992.

Generally Militia was acting according to the standards of the Latvia SSR Criminal Code, Criminal Action Code and Administrative Code which were worked out following the

corresponding samples of the USSR and these standards are the basis of the present legislation as well. Starting from December, 1991, the above mentioned normative deeds were supplemented by taking into account the requirements set out in the law "On Police", and Saeima passed the amendments and supplements to the law according to the Republic of Latvia development tendencies.

The Republic of Latvia Interior Ministry Police Department Training Center was established in 1991; its task was, within a short time, train policemen who would enter upon their duties - maintain public order. Resignation of more than 1000 militiamen and engaging of new policemen required to change sharply the training system that had existed till 1991 and was that of the USSR.

Why was it necessary to have new approach to the organization of training process?

Firstly, the independent Republic of Latvia developed with its own mentality that was still alive in the nation.

Secondly, the law on language was passed that provided that all the office work was to be kept in the Latvian language.

Thirdly, the fast change among regular policemen from aliens to natives.

A policeman, who maintains public order, is unable to coordinate activities of people without deep comprehension of their values, opinions and expressions. Therefore, the training program was to begin with expounding on the Latvian mentality and the cultural differences existing among minorities living in Latvia. The role of power distance in different society formations determines the equality of power and requires motivation. The society inertly responds to inequalities when they happen. One of democracy rules is freedom of speech, thus the journalists play an important role for they react most sharply upon inequalities or upon each individual case of surpassing the power.

Why did the necessity appear to go into the changes concerning the new training programs?

The Police Department Training Center did its best to draw the teaching methods near the real life. The system of lectures has been formed accordingly and it ensures that the policemen study normative deeds and are trained to adapt them. The following is considered when working out this task:

  1. Besides the lectures on normative deeds and how to perform actions, the necessary psychological mechanisms are delivered, as well as methods.
  2. The tendency of the exercise system determines accordingly the dominance of theoretical or practical exercises.
  3. The performance of the operations characteristic to the relevant mode of action is included in the tasks, besides, in the sequence of those tasks the complexity degree of operations is considered.
  4. The acquired skills are included in different contexts, ensuring sufficient number of reiterations.

The exercise system of studying and teaching strategy ensures the communicative, motivation and cooperation functions of leadership that are fulfilled in its structure, selection of material, and organization the activities of students. When working out the exercise system, we try to take into account both didactic and methodical principles.

Didactic Principles:

  1. The exercises must be provided for fulfillment of the goals that are to be achieved during a definite time.
  2. Besides the standard actions, there is a necessity for various kinds of differentiation of those activities.
  3. The varied exercises must be organized in a way to develop thinking and memory as well as active motivated actions.

Methodical Principles:

  1. Real conditions are created or imitated.
  2. The used materials, with respect to their contents and visual features, are authentic.
  3. Besides the practical games, the drawing up of reports, descriptions and statements is provided.
  4. The development of cooperation is ensured.
  5. The mastering of the normative deeds and practical skills is organized differentially.

The exercise system and the practical games that are the basis of the training are:

  1. a reference - point to evaluate the accident and to state the gravity of the offense according to the normative documents;
  2. to evaluate and to comprehend the role of evidences in the legal proceedings;
  3. to find the necessary source of information and witnesses.

This goal can he achieved gradually. Therefore, the training is divided into three periods- the first 316 lessons on theory are mutually linked and in the second half of the first period included in the practical games.

Then, according to the definite program, two months of practical work in a police division follow and the final period - 292 lessons in stationary conditions with tendency towards practical games and offense modeling. It is followed by a complex one day exam that includes an offense modeling from the moment the offense was committed till it is in the court. There is a possibility for the students to show they would use their rights of policemen that includes reporting, legal actions prescribed by the law, variants of tactics, taking tracks and collection of material evidences, as well as they can demonstrate their psychological preparedness while detaining criminals, repulsing an attack, handling weapons and rendering first aid to a victim.

In the present situation when such a fluctuation in the supply of trained personnel is existing, the above described training system offers a possibility within a short time train policemen who could take up their duties of maintaining public order under conditions that all of them follow the changes passed in the legislation and perfect themselves physically, psychologically, as well as do shooting exercises regularly and broaden their outlook.

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