After the massacre in Kyiv early last year the massive police presence in the city evaporated and almost vanished overnight. The few cops that remained immediately rebranded themselves with Ukraines Blue and Yellow flag and joined joint street patrols with local volunteers. Since those early post-revolution months, they have scarcely been seen. The DAI (traffic police) have still been out annoying drivers but the cities brutally corrupt civilian police have been in hiding.
Needless to say, Kyiv didn’t descend into anarchy and the city returned to, and continued in its usual quiet, safe and self-policing self.
For those of us who live here and especially for those who, like me, have been arbitrarily detained by the pre-revolution police – that has been a welcome state of affairs.
Yesterday however they returned in force. Or more accurately they returned as a new force. Dropping their Soviet era ‘Militsiya’ name, the new ‘Politsyia’ have been completely re-recruited and trained from scratch in a Georgian-style root-and-branch reform.
Thousands of people applied for the new positions and those that were lucky started their work yesterday. 27% are said to be women (apparently higher than the EU average) and last night they were out in their new shiny cars – clearly enjoying their flashy blue lights*.
This is undoubtedly the most visable and well promoted if the post-revolution reforms and I think there’s a general feeling of pride here in Kyiv in their new officers.
Let’s hope they manage to retain this respect and do what all good police forces should – stop criminals and protect innocent people, whatever their views, race, religion or political affiliation.
Good luck to them.
*the new police cars seem to have their lights set to ‘always flash’. Perhaps it’s a way to draw attention to themselves.
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