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OSCE encourages police reform at high-level conference in Yerevan

Police reforms, police accountability and transparency, education and trust are among the topics of discussion at an OSCE-supported international conference starting today in Yerevan.

The two-day event is jointly organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan, the OSCE Transnational Threats Department, and the Armenian Police, in partnership with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. The event provides a platform for participants to learn from the experience of other countries, to discuss their achievements and challenges faced during the reform process, as well as to exchange ideas for further improvements in the field of policing.

The conference brings together some 60 high-level representatives from the Armenian police, National Assembly, state institutions, civil society and international partners. Additionally, the event is being attended by a high level delegation from the Kyrgyz Ministry of Internal Affairs, currently on a study visit to Armenia with OSCE support.

Participants will discuss the main achievements and challenges of police reforms in Armenia, Georgia and Estonia, the importance of community policing and of improving the education system. A separate session will be devoted to the parliamentary and civilian oversight of police activities as a mechanism to ensure police accountability and transparency.

Lieutenant-General Vladimir Gasparyan, Head of the Armenian Police, stated: “Today’s event is of special importance as it provides an opportunity to reflect on the major developments in Armenia’s police reform, progress achieved so far, and future goals. Over the past two years much has been done to ensure a more effective and accountable police service. At the same time, there are still issues to be addressed, and we trust today’s discussions will contribute to this process.”

Ambassador Andrey Sorokin, Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, said: “Police reform is a priority for many countries in transition. It is a challenging and demanding process, which requires systemic changes, the strengthening of police officers’ skills, and most importantly a change of mindset towards providing an effective service, focused on public needs. I believe this conference will encourage all parties to learn from each other’s experiences, and will help identify good practices, which would contribute to furthering police reform in Armenia.”

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