Security Police faces critique, seeks more funding

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The Security Police (DP) needs to boost its capacity with more advanced equipment and larger salaries to personnel, DP Deputy Chief Juris Leitietis told the press after a meeting of the parliamentary committee for national security Wednesday.

However he refused to comment on Tuesday’s critical remarks by Latvian President Andris Berzins about the need to improve the DP’s performance and coordination with other security agencies.

"We cannot rate our own work, this must be done by the government. I think that the government has heard our wish to boost capacity so that we can work better,” Leitietis said. He said the crisis in Ukraine has become one of the most relevant issues facing the agency right now.

When asked about the specific security services that should be strengthened, the Security Police deputy chief said that the priority should be given to the agencies dealing with prevention and counter-intelligence.

"Counter-intelligence is necessary for early detection of provocations and other hostile activities aimed at our country. Both technical equipment and human resources should be strengthened,” he explained, adding that low salaries in the Security Police and other organizations inside the Interior Ministry’s system made it difficult to recruit and keep officers.

Leitietis declined to specify how much additional financing was needed, as such information is classified.

MP and former president Valdis Zatlers, the chairman of the parliamentary committee for national security, told the press that there was currently no need for reforms in the Latvian security services.

He said that President Berzins, despite expressing his dissatisfaction in remarks on Tuesday’s Latvian Radio broadcast Krustpunktā, had not as yet proposed to the Saeima committee any reforms for either of Latvia’s three security services – the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB), the Security Police or the Military Intelligence Service, each responsible for national security, intelligence and counter-intelligence as well as military affairs, respectively.

"I think (the President) rather meant the security services’ investigative authorities as there really are too many of these and the need to optimize their operations has long been discussed”, Zatlers said.

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