7 November 2019
Zemgale policemen are looking for better cooperation solutions in the Latvian – Lithuanian border area
Public order guards from Zemgale Regional Board of the State Police, Auce, Akniste, Bauska, Jelgava, Viesīte, Vecumnieki and Tērvete municipal police, as well as project managers from several municipalities participated in Zemgale Planning Region roundtable discussion on the efficiency of public services In the Latvian – Lithuanian border area.
The discussion organized within Interreg V-A Latvia-Lithuania Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020, LLI-302 “Improving the efficiency and accessibility of local public security services in the Latvian-Lithuanian border area” (Safe Borderlands) project framework. The purpose of the discussion, just like in the October, 2019 exchange of views between fire and rescue services, was to summarize positive examples of state and municipal police cooperation to date and identify key obstacles to better cooperation and more effective action on both sides of the border. The participants of the discussion evaluated the current cooperation of state and municipal police in Zemgale as good, but in cooperation with colleagues from the neighboring country, a number of uncertainties were mentioned, mainly in the area of distribution of competences. Therefore, the intention to prepare and sign three bilateral cooperation agreements between neighboring municipalities – Tērvete and Joniskis, Vecumnieki and Biržai, Akniste and Rokiskis – as a result of the research carried out during the implementation of the project is to be supported. The lack of financial and human resources was cited by almost all speakers as an obstacle to improving the services provided.
Border municipalities want to increase the presence of state police officers in their territories, especially in the prevention of more serious offenses, when municipal police officers or, most often, police officers lack both the power and knowledge to detect and apprehend the perpetrators. As a positive factor, the stewards noted the increasing trust of the local population in the police, with each municipality having well-known residents who regularly report and engage in public order violations. In turn, the municipal police drew attention to the inequalities in the provision of material and technical facilities between smaller and larger municipalities, according to the local situation. For example, there are 12 lakes in Viesīte municipality, but the equipment needed to detect water pollution and edge fishing is very modest. It should be taken into account that there is also 80 hectares of Ilzu Lake in the county, about half of which is in Latvia and the other half in Lithuania, where the cooperation of the stewards is particularly necessary. Meanwhile, Jelgava municipality police have acquired a modern arsenal of technical equipment – quadricycle, drone, night vision monocle, thermal camera, powerful motor boat and echo control for inland water and fish resources protection, mainly with the support of the Fish Fund.
Also, the impressive network of CCTV cameras in many municipalities, including with the support of the Safe Borderlands project, there is a need to produce a digital map of the location of such cameras so that, if necessary, the stewards have access to the stored information. This proposal will also be taken into account in the follow-up to the project. The project partners are currently organizing similar discussions on the Lithuanian side, but at the end of November, meeting with all project partners, will prepare proposals for a large-scale study and recommendations for improving cooperation between border rescue services and law enforcement agencies in other non-project municipalities.
The total budget of the project is EUR 543 262.45, including ERDF funding of EUR 461 773.08.This publication has been produced with the financial support of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the Zemgale Planning Region and are under no circumstances an official position of the European Union.