Response to Boing Boing post on "Police Pad" gadgets in Georgia, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia

Editor's Note: In response to an anonymously-sourced wisecrack we published about police corruption in former Soviet states, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs has responded with a statement, which we are more than happy to publish in full.

Georgian Police: Model for Successful Transformation

The article published on [Boing Boing on] January 12, 2012, about the initiative by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to introduce new portable field computers (so called “Police Pads”) ends with an anonymous quote declaring that "100% guaranteed those crooked, fat, lazy cops will be using these devices primarily for porn and Russian gambling services."

Stereotypes like this are easy to toss out—but are quite simply incorrect. This quote does not reflect the productivity, effectiveness, transparency, and reliability of the police force in Georgia today, but rather the bygone era of the 1990s, a reality that has drastically changed thanks to an ambitious and successful reform process.

The reform process in Georgia began immediately after the 2003 Rose Revolution. The new government inherited a completely corrupt and bloated law-enforcement system. The systemic corruption and the high level of crime throughout the country resulted in a very low level of public trust: fewer than 10% of Georgians had confidence in the police, according to 2003 polls. And the very low average policeman's salary (approximately $68 per month) made the soliciting of bribes routine. 

Georgia has since made the creation of an efficient and modern police force a national priority, undertaking a series of reforms that sought to rebuild the national police force literally from the ground up. The entire national police force was fired, and a new force hired, trained and deployed with the aim of meeting the highest international standards of professionalism.

These reforms are widely regarded as an unqualified success. Having reduced corruption and bribe taking to levels comparable to those in Europe, the police in Georgia have earned the trust and respect of the public they serve:

•According to Transparency International’s latest Global Corruption Barometer, in terms of public perception Georgia has the world’s 5th least-corrupt police force, placing it ahead of Germany or even the United States;

•According to the survey conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) in November 2011, 87% of population have confidence in Police;

•According to a survey funded by the EU and conducted by GORBI Institute in 2011, Georgia has one of the lowest "victimization coefficients," a measure that reflects public perceptions of crime and individual security. 

On the subject of the so-called "Police Pads," reforms have transformed what was once an antiquated backlog of paper files for car imports, registries, and customs. They have been replaced with new, cutting-edge technology capable of streamlining requests and filing paperwork in record time.

Georgia has much work to do in shaking off the vestiges of nearly a century of Soviet occupation, but the transformation of our police force into a modern and professional service is an achievement that Georgians are deeply proud of, and a symbol of our commitment to retake our rightful place in the European community.

January 16, 2012
Press Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia

Photo: An employee demonstrates a "Police Pad" at the Algorithm factory in Tbilisi, Georgia, on January 11, 2012. Five thousand police officers will receive portable field computers, equipped with features that will assist them with their work, assembled at this factory, according to local media.


    1. I might not think that firing everyone for the police would be necessary, but i sure as hell think that a nice “reset” on so many government offices would be nice. Like the bloated tax code system, and the congress just to start.

  1. I admire this goal and the steps they have taken to accomplish it. It sounds like they could be a model for many other jurisdictions.

  2. I like it when a bureaucrat actually does a good job of addressing the issue and making their case in a polite and intelligent way. Let this be an example for some of those tools we have in the U.S. Congress.

    1. It’s hard to find polite ways to say it, but websites like this will sometimes shape content to fit reader expectations, or to deliberately confound them. Page views are sustained by one, and goosed by the other.

      The view that cops in general (Georgian, American, British, whatever) are at best vaguely malevolent and more often just plain evil thugs is one you’ll hear a lot on BB–frequently in comments, and occasionally in articles. It’s also one there’s a fair amount of pushback against, notably in the original thread. 
      So it’s very much to the site’s advantage to create a space in which that kind of debate can erupt. Ditto religion, OWS, Wikileaks, political hot button issues in general, and hell, maybe steampunk for all I know. 70% of your audience comes back the next day because you’ve affirmed their beliefs, and 30% comes back (after reloading the page twenty times to see who responded to their rant) to set the heathens straight the next time the issue comes up. 

      I sincerely doubt Xeni Jardin cackled in evil delight after she put in that little stinger of a quote. I’m not saying any of this is malevolent, or unusually manipulative given that audience manipulation is sort of a core tenet of any media. But it’s no accident that some posts seem calculated to give someone something to tee off on.

        1. Besides hosting a website and posting content to it presumably?

          Edit: Hey mods, why not delete this one too?

    1. Reducing corruption is no easy task. Especially for a former Soviet republic. They had to replace their entire police force. I don’t think condescension is warranted.

    2. Actually you’re right. Most western European countries rank higher than the US concerning police corruption.

  3. A convincing response to nation trolling, including some metrics that can be checked.

    I would be interested in a comparison of body mass index (BMI) of police forces of the world.

  4. So the gambling and porn browsing should be kept to European levels, then. I would expect the same behaviour from American police, and I don’t even particularly hate them; there’s a LOT of down time waiting at speed traps. 

  5. This article from English Russia says that 87% of Georgia’s people trust the police today, compared to the sub-10% rating before the 2003 reforms. The article mentions that only the Orthodox Church rated higher.

    I’m not typically one to rush to the defense of the police, but Georgia’s government really has gone to extremes to put their police department back on track. At this point, spewing hatred for the cops there is about as flaccid a behavior as whining about your fast-food breakfast options.

    1. I’m not arguing that people in Georgia do or don’t have greater faith in the police, but please. That “article” is just an English translation of a photo gallery published on a Russian guy’s livejournal. 


      Two important takeaways:

      1) The  English Russia blog is a fun site, but it’s not a news organization.

      2) There’s no information about the name, date, source, or methodology of the purported surveys. All we have in that post is: “The Georgian police hasn’t been taking bribes for already several years and, according to surveys…” So, citation needed.

  6. Long live Georgian police !

    It is true. I’m writing this from America, and Georgian police have consistently been nicest to me in the whole world. Shame on anyone who mocks such hardworking man and woman, to be sure. Georgian police show the light to rest of the countries on the globe, as fairest and most handsome, willing to always use true justice and equal strength for most important cases.

    I have read that their uniforms are also made by dutiful and best paid workers of any region, gladly sacrificing all time to most important endevor, 55% coton (grown fair and equal, no child labor) and also 55% polyester (in pollution-free textile factory). Their work day is also shorter than most, with polls showing 15% of time for liesure studies, and 10% of year for vacation.

    Polls also show that 80% of people polled around the globe also prefer Georgian policemen and policewomen, as compared to 65% of Russian and 40% French (confidential polls carried out from samples of all countries, 2007, on http website).

    Thank you for a most informative and good story, you should run more like this.

Comments are closed.