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Government plans to form four riot prevention units in Latvian regions

Photo: facebook.com/State Police.
The State Police plans to form four riot prevention units in Latvia’s regions, says Chief of State Police Ints Ķuzis.

Police in Latvia already have a unit intended for mass riot prevention and various complicated operations – the Special Operations Battalion. Up until now the unit’s biggest challenge was quelling the mass fight in Old Riga in 2009.
 

This unit is stationed in Riga. Every day officers take part in patrols. If need be, members of the battalion are assigned to maintaining peace and order during large events, such as the Remembrance Day of The Latvian Legionnaires (16 March). To perform their duties effectively, police officers are provided with special equipment, ranging from uniforms and precision weapons to specialized vehicles.
 

The proposal for the formation of similar units in other regions was voiced several years ago. Plans are being realized now. Selection and evaluation of potential candidates began in January. The riot prevention unit will be under direct control of Riga Regional Police Department. Operational control will be delegated to regional police departments.
 

In the interest of state security, Ķuzis refrained from mentioning the number of specially-trained police officers. To make sure the battalion functions in full cooperation, joint exercises will be organized.
 

The chief of police also mentioned that officers who pass the selection process will also be provided with larger wages.
 

‘Evaluation of potential candidates continues. The plan provides for units to be formed over the course of the year. I hope to see results in the second half of the year,’ said Ķuzis.
 

Formation of these units will help improve mobility of the Special Operations Battalion when reacting to potential threats.
 

Expansion of the Special Operations Battalion is needed, considering the changing geopolitical situation and possible hybrid war risks.

BNN/LETA

19-02-2018
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