11 Oct 13
New Albania Govt Restructures Police Force
The government of Prime Minister Edi Rama has radically restructured the state police in an effort to boost security and combat the spiralling crime rate.
|New head of Albanian police Artan Didi|
He said the new force would be less centralised and closer to the community, reducing the number of high-ranking officers from 811 to 255.
The prime minster on Thursday ordered the replacement of the country’s top officer, the head of the general directorate of police Hysni Burgaj, with former special forces commander Artan Didi.
Didi, a career officer, previously commanded the interior ministry’s elite RENEA unit.
The top officers in Albania’s 12 administrative regions were also replaced, while several units like the traffic police were completely disbanded as part of the restructuring effort. Other units will now take over traffic duties.
According to a study from the Tirana-based Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Albania registered a sharp rise in violent crime from 2009.
The study, entitled Crime Trends in Albania, which analyses data provided by the police, said that officers registered a total of 14,030 criminal investigations in 2012, with one crime committed on average every 40 minutes.
Nearly 96 per cent of police investigations relate to theft.
Although police claim to have a high crime-detection rate, with two-thirds of cases resolved, the murder rate in Albania has also risen in the last four years.
According to the Institute for Democracy and Mediation’s data, the murder rate rose by than 40 per cent in 2010 and 2011 compared with the two preceding years.
The think tank said that 354 murders, manslaughters and attempted murders were registered in 2012.