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Tuesday 23.04.2019 | Name days: Jurģis, Juris, Georgs

Authorities investigate artificial wage increase at Salaspils Police Station

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUInternal Security Office has commenced a criminal process in regards to artificial wage increase at Salaspils Police Station. Wages there were reportedly increased using forged documents, according to information from Nekā personīga.

NP reports that the name of the inspector arrested last week is Jana Stepense. She is suspected of abuse of official power and possible forgery. It was also planned to arrest her chief last week. However, Ļena Keine-Kaštaļjana had been on a sick leave at the time. According to her colleagues, she remains hospitalized.

The programme reminds that two years ago a wage reform was implemented at State Police. The goal of this reform was restoring wages cut during the crisis and motivating police officers to remain. Together with promised wage increase, stricter requirements were adopted for criminal police officers.

«Television viewers knew more about operations and criminals apprehended by Ļena Keine-Kaštaļjana than activities of her other colleagues. The police officer with 20 years of experience was often filmed and interviewed about police work. For a long time Keina-Kaštaļjana was in charge of Riga Kurzeme Precinct Criminal Police. When she left for Salaspils, her work did not go unnoticed,» the programme reports.

NP reminds that «a couple of months ago it was reported that some illegal petrol station likely protected by local police officers was discovered in Salaspils». «In May 2018, local residents asked Salaspils police to award officers because apprehension of some group of criminals helped some owner of a private house recover all of her previously stolen items.»

«Night shifts pay especially well. Attention of Internal Security Bureau was attracted by too often shifts of police officers in Salaspils. As it turned out, even though on paper officers of Salaspils Criminal Police had organized at least eight night raids in the past several months, in reality, however, work was performed mostly during the day. Inspectors from ISB found out that police cars allegedly used for night raids remained outside the police station at the time of the raids. An in-depth investigation also revealed that police officers were at home during so-called night raids,» NP reports.

The programme continues, saying that Keine-Kaštaljana was the one who approved the table of activities and work schedules. Internal Security Bureau believes she had unjustifiably accepted night shifts for her subordinates and herself. Doing so allowed her to increase wages by an average of 100 to 200 euros a month.

Juris Šulte, chief of State Police Riga Region Office, comments: «On 26 October, last Friday, ISB performed investigative procedures. One criminal police inspector was found a suspect. She has been suspended from performing her duties as a security measure.»

NP explains: «Night raids are a necessity for the police. But it is not always possible to plan them several days in advance. A team of police officers depart after receiving information regarding contraband goods being delivered to a store or the presence of some criminal elements in a specific location. As of September, police chiefs are no longer the only ones who approve night raids – the procedure requires two more levels of approval. This helps increase control over police officers’ work on one hand, and the risk of information leak on the other hand.»

When asked if raids are supervised by more than two people, as it was in the past, the chief of State Police Riga Region Office said yes.

Nekā personīga: «Would you say similar violations are possible in other Riga region police stations?»

Šulte: «The total number of such measures performed by police throughout January to September was 1,200. I can solemnly swear to you nothing of the sort was observed at other police stations. But I would like to say again that we had changed the procedure in September».

The programme reminds that last year Latvia implemented a new wage system for police officers. On average, wages were increased by EUR 100. Criminal police officers are paid around EUR 1,000 a month. The wage of the arrested inspector is EUR 1,000. At the beginning of the year, her wage did not exceed EUR 800.

When asked by the programme if the wage of the head of criminal police office – EUR 1,200 – is adequate, Šulte said wages of police investigators are not competitive with wages of investigators from other sectors. «This is demonstrated as much by the migration of officers to other investigative institutions, including the prosecutor’s office. Yes, I believe their wages are not competitive,» comments Šulte.

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