On April 23, 2020, the government approved the 2020-2022 police reform strategy.
According to the strategy, the goal of police reform is to establish a police that will be able to cope with contemporary challenges, will be professional, technically equipped, and well-respected, and to create the image of a police officer that will conform with the principles of democracy.
Paragraph 4 of the strategy refers to the Patrol Service: “With the establishment of the new Patrol Police and its operation throughout the country, the Traffic Police and Patrol Service subdivisions will be removed.”
These changes also implied changes in the number of the staff and equipment. The new Patrol Service was first launched in Yerevan on July 7, 2021, where changes in the number and equipment of police officers became apparent.
The Union of Informed Citizens has studied the change in the number of police officers patrolling the streets of the capital at the same time, as well as the number of police officers in general as a result of replacing the Patrol Police and the Traffic Police with the new Patrol Service.
Change in the number of police officers patrolling the streets of Yerevan by shifts (hours of the day)
Until June 6, 2021, the number of traffic police officers on duty in Yerevan varied at different times of the day. In particular, at night (00:00-08:00), about 22 officers were on duty, while during the day (09:00-16:00), their number was 58, and in the evening (16:00-24:00) it was again 58.
In parallel with the Traffic Police, the Patrol Police were on duty in Yerevan, again in different numbers at different times of the day. At night (00:00-08:00) the number of police officers on duty was 30, during the day (09:00-16:00) it was 60, and in the evening (16:00-24:00), it was again 60.
In fact, altogether, 52 Traffic Police and Patrol Police officers were on duty in the capital at 00:00-08:00, and 118 at 09:00-24:00. Moreover, in recent months, the de facto number of shifts of Patrol Police officers was up to twice less than planned.
From July 7, 2021, the number of new Patrol Service officers (which has replaced the Traffic Police and the Patrol Police) exceeds the total number of the former Traffic Police and Patrol Police officers.
Thus, car patrol officers work a 12-hour shift (00։00-12։00) – 90 patrol officers, and again 90 patrol officers work at 12։00-24։00. In parallel, there is foot patrol service (09։00-16։00) – 50 patrol officers, and at 16։00-24։00 – again 50 patrol officers.
One of the peculiarities of the Patrol Service is that depending on the traffic load in the city, which is mainly loaded in the morning and evening hours, the patrol officers in reserve that day are also involved in order to regulate the traffic. Their number is around 40, and they are mainly involved between 08։00-10։00 and 17։00-19։00.
There has also been a change in the number of police vehicles on duty. Thus, from January to June, the number of traffic police vehicles was 11 at night (00:00-08:00), and 29 during the day and evening (09:00-24:00). In case of the Patrol Police, it was 15 cars at night (00:00-08:00), and 13 cars during the day and evening (09։00-24։00). The number of Patrol Police vehicles has also increased. There are 45 police cars on duty 24 hours a day.
Nevertheless, the number of police officers has decreased
All this would not be so impressive if it were not combined with the reduction in the total number of police officers. Thus, the 1st Traffic Police Battalion serving in Yerevan and the Patrol Police Regiment of the Yerevan Police Department had about 900 positions before July, while the number of officers in the Yerevan Regiment of the new Patrol Service is about 700.
At the same time, as a result of the redistribution of functions, the number of officers of other units of the police and police forces has slightly increased (for example, the Traffic Police Battalion, whose officers we still meet on the streets of Yerevan). However, the total number of police officers has decreased, but against the background of this decrease, the number of police officers and police vehicles patrolling the streets of Yerevan at the same time has increased.
In other words, in the past there was an average of 96 police officers on the streets of Yerevan at the same time (traffic plus patrol). Now there are an average of 130 patrol officers patrolling the streets of Yerevan at the same time. Thus, the number of police officers patrolling the streets at the same time has increased by 35%, despite the fact that the number of staff has been reduced by 22%.
It should also be noted that the number of police officers on duty at the same time has increased mostly at night (by 73%), when thefts and other crimes are more common.
Union of Informed Citizens