Cable by Dazzlepod US Embassy Diplomatic Cables from WikiLeaks Released 251287 Cables (Sep 2, 2012)
ORIGIN
CONFIDENTIAL (97070)
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN (4678)
SECRET (11322)
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UNCLASSIFIED (75792)
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (58095)
Reference ID 09TBILISI1589 (original text)
SubjectGEORGIA: STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION OF THE POLICE
OriginEmbassy Tbilisi
ClassificationCONFIDENTIAL
ReleasedAug 30, 2011 01:44
CreatedAug 25, 2009 05:05
VZCZCXRO1142
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1589/01 2370505
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 250505Z AUG 09 ZDK CITE NUMBEROUS SERVICES
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2089
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 001589 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/2019 
TAGS:          
SUBJECT: GEORGIA:  STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION OF THE POLICE 
(PART 1) 
 
REF: TBILISI 0207 
 
TBILISI 00001589  001.3 OF 004 
 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
 1.  (C) SUMMARY.  The reform of Georgia's police forces has 
been one of Georgia's most significant successes since the 
Rose Revolution, resulting in a decrease in corruption and 
improved public image for the police.  However, because of 
the many agencies and branches with overlapping 
jurisdictions, it is often difficult to tell which divisions 
are involved in any particular event.  This first half of a 
two-part message describes the organization of Georgia's 
uniformed police and how different agencies and branches work 
together.  The bulk of the police branches operate under the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA), which can be split into 
broad groups of 'core' units and 'specialty' units.  Core 
units form a hierarchical system of information gathering and 
response - Neighborhood Police personally get to know the 
residents of an area and can quickly gather information on 
suspects; Patrol Police respond to active crime scenes and 
conduct preliminary investigations; City Police take over 
bigger, non-routine issues in urban areas; and Criminal 
Police are brought in for more severe violent crimes.  The 
Border Police were reformed to focus on green borders, while 
the Patrol Police guard official points of entry.  Specialty 
units include the Special Operative Department (which 
includes a counter-narcotics unit, anti-TIP unit, 
surveillance, organized crime unit, etc.), and a host of 
branches with specific goals such as counter-terrorism, 
intelligence gathering, and diplomatic security.  Meanwhile, 
the Special State Protection Service (SSPS), the President's 
version of the Sec ret Service, is an independent agency that 
guards the President, members of Parliament, and foreign 
dignitaries.  The second cable in the series will address 
challenges facing Georgia's security structures.  END SUMMARY. 
 
BACKGROUND 
 
 2.  (C) After the Rose Revolution, the Georgian Government 
implemented a sweeping set of reforms that fundamentally 
transformed the country's law enforcement bodies and the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs.  First, the Ministry of State 
Security merged with MOIA, eliminating Soviet-style parallel 
power centers.  Police officers were provided with new cars, 
police stations in the capital and the regions were repaired, 
and bases were built near the conflict zones in Zugdidi and 
Gori to train special forces.  Emergency and Civil Security 
forces modernized according to European standards, and 
salaries of the Ministry's employees significantly increased. 
 MOIA installed hundreds of cameras to control traffic 
movement and record criminal activity in Tbilisi and Batumi. 
The MOIA police academy curriculum was completely reformed 
and the physical plant upgraded with robust support from the 
State-INL program, as well as modest support from the OSCE 
and other international donors. 
 
MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS 
 
 3.  (SBU) Officially, every department in MOIA has a head who 
reports separately to the Minister.  There is also an 
unofficial hierarchy of police units that is designed to 
incrementally respond to increasingly grave crimes.  This 
section list units in this unofficial order, and explains the 
coordination between core police sections and the specialty 
units designed to support them. 
 
NEIGHBORHOOD POLICE 
 
 4.  (C) Head:  Zurab Tvauri 
 
Originating from Soviet times when police were required to 
QOriginating from Soviet times when police were required to 
keep track of people's movements and actions, the 
Neighborhood Police is an ear-to-the-ground force that 
complements other divisions and is found in all major cities. 
 In each neighborhood, these police officers are charged with 
personally getting to know the local population, how the 
community is organized, and general neighborhood business. 
When a crime occurs, other police forces first come to the 
Neighborhood Police for suggestions on possible suspects or 
people to interview.  Because of their personal relationship 
with the population, the Neighborhood Police are frequently 
able to obtain facts or data that other police units cannot 
quickly collect.  Their auxiliary function is to deal with 
small-scale conflicts in the neighborhood, such as petty 
hooliganism or noise complaints, as well as more serious 
instances of domestic violence.  In many cases, residents 
will first call the Neighborhood Police, who investigate and 
then decide whether or not other departments should become 
 
TBILISI 00001589  002.3 OF 004 
 
 
involved. 
 
PATROL POLICE 
 
 5.  (C) Head:  Giorgi (Goga) Grigalashvili 
 
The Patrol Police are the standard, most visible police unit 
with numerous regional offices.  They are charged with 
stopping violence, responding to crimes in real time, traffic 
control, protection of public order, and border security and 
control at official ports of entry.  These officers conduct 
preliminary investigations and have a liaison relationship 
with other branches.  They are also responsible for 
processing and evaluating video footage from traffic control 
cameras, as well as respond to the emergency hotline (similar 
to 911).  The Patrol Police conduct vehicle and foot patrols, 
with foot crews handling the metro area, public spaces and 
crossroads.  (Comment: One source who works closely with the 
Patrol Police says that Saakashvili, known for his love of 
publicity, has encouraged the Patrol Police to invite camera 
crews and seek publicity for Georgia's law enforcement, 
occasionally at the expense of undercover sting operations. 
End Comment.) 
 
CITY POLICE 
 
 6.  (C) Head:  Devi Tchelidze 
 
Present in large cities such as Batumi and Tbilisi, the City 
Police gather evidence and identify suspects in criminal 
cases.  This branch works closely with the Patrol Police and 
Neighborhood Police.  When a crime is reported, the patrol 
police respond first, dealing with the matter if it involves 
traffic and other routine issues.  For more serious cases, 
the Patrol Police will generally transfer responsibility to 
the City Police, who will then begin more extensive 
investigations and work with the Neighborhood Police. 
 
CRIMINAL POLICE 
 
 7.  (C) Head:  Vano Tsiklauri 
 
The next step up from the City Police are the Criminal 
Police, who respond to major cases such as shootings and 
murders.  City and criminal police functions overlap.  For 
example, while a violent murder would clearly be assigned to 
the Criminal Police, a bank robbery may be dealt with by 
either the City or Criminal police, depending on the 
circumstances and level of violence. 
 
BORDER POLICE 
 
 8.  (C) Head:  Zaza Gogava 
 
Previously charged with handling all ports of entry into the 
country, the Border Police were significantly reduced in size 
and function as of January 1, 2009, when the Border Police 
Command and Control Center was restructured into two units 
directly under the MOIA: the Operational Management and 
Border Technology Center in the Operational Technical 
Department, and the Operational Support Office in the 
Information Analytical Department (reftel).  Some analysts 
suggest that there was a political reason behind the 
reduction - the Border Police had been widely considered to 
have a greater degree of independence from the government, 
and the opposition held influential positions there (for 
example, their former chief is the husband of opposition 
leader Nino Burjanadze).  However, the Border Police also 
have an established reputation for corruption, as opposed to 
the Patrol Police, who have cultivated a new culture of 
integrity in police operations.  The current function of the 
Border Police is to guard "green borders," or land crossings 
without official points of entry.  In 1998, the Coast Guard 
became a sub-unit of the Border Police.  The January reforms 
dissolved the Georgian Navy and integrated it into the Coast 
Guard.  However, while the Coast Guard protects open waters, 
the United Transportation Administration under the Ministry 
Qthe United Transportation Administration under the Ministry 
of Infrastructure is responsible for protecting Georgia's 
naval ports, alon with the Patrol Police and Ministry of 
Finance customs agents. 
 
SPECIAL OPERATIVE DEPARTMENT (SOD) 
 
 9.  (C) Head:  Irakli Kodua 
 
Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the GoG merged 
several security agencies, including the state security 
forces and some police units, into the SOD.  A source working 
 
TBILISI 00001589  003.3 OF 004 
 
 
closely with the police describes this as "like merging water 
and oil."  Today, SOD has several regional offices and 
handles narco-trafficking, human trafficking, money 
laundering and counterfeiting, weapons and cargo smuggling, 
organized crime and the mafia.  Additionally, SOD has 
sub-units which handle surveillance, counter-intelligence and 
technical device operations. 
 
SPECIAL OPERATIONS CENTER (SOC) 
 
 10.  (C) Head: Lt. Colonel Mamuka Toidze 
 
Not to be confused with the Special Operative Department, SOC 
fills a relatively specialized niche and is significantly 
smaller than SOD (approximately 300).  It has a special 
forces team that assists the City and Criminal Police with 
bomb squads and hostage rescue teams, as well as provides a 
CT capability and biowarfare response to a CT action.  This 
section is under the control of Deputy Minister of Internal 
Affairs Shalva Janashvili. 
 
CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION DEPARTMENT (CPD) 
 
 11.  (C) Head:  Soso Topuridze (Acting) 
 
This branch is charged with investigating and handling 
threats to the Constitution and the political system, 
although it is somewhat ambiguous as to what that entails. 
Ostensibly, CPD investigates cases of sabotage against the 
GoG and corruption in high-ranking officials.  Most CPD 
officers are not uniformed, and their office is located next 
to SOD.  (Note:  Reportedly Topuridze is only nominally in 
charge of CPD, and the former head, Dato Akhalaia, who was 
forced to step down following criminal allegations, remains 
in control of the unit.  End Note.) 
 
COUNTER-TERRORISM CENTER 
 
 12.  (C) Head: Dato Tabutsadze 
 
The Counter-Terrorism Center handles counter-terrorism 
operations and monitors groups suspected of having terrorist 
affiliations.  It also closely coordinates with CPD and SOD. 
 
EMERGENCY SITUATION DEPARTMENT 
 
 13.  (C) Head: Irakli Kadagidze 
 
This department handles "force majeure" cases such as 
natural disasters, rescue squads, and contingency plans for 
events such as nuclear material emergencies.  This section is 
also under the control of Deputy Minister Janashvili. 
 
SECURITY POLICE DEPARTMENT 
 
 14.  (C) Head:  Kakha Legashvili 
 
This branch handles diplomatic security, and guards banks, 
ministries and official government buildings, with the 
exception of the Parliament building and the President's 
office (see below).  It also protects railways, marine and 
air objects, cargo transportation, power and energy plants. 
These police can be hired on a contractual basis to provide 
security for private organizations.  While laws prevent 
private individuals or companies from carrying weapons, the 
protection police are an official police force and are not 
bound by this restriction, ensuring their popularity with 
bigger firms and private banks. 
 
SPECIAL TASK FORCE 
 
 15. (C) Overseen by Deputy Minister Janashvili 
 
A paramilitary force, this unit protects the 
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and responds to bomb threats in 
Tbilisi.  Additionally it can serve as a riot police and 
perimeter defense force. 
 
STRATEGIC PIPELINE PROTECTION DIVISION (SSPD) 
 
 16. (C) Overseen by Deputy Minister Janashvili 
 
This unit handles strategic energy assets; they also protect 
BTC, as well as the South Caucasus Gas Pipeline and Supsa oil 
terminal. 
 
NON-MOIA POLICE FORCES: SPECIAL STATE PROTECTION SERVICE 
(SSPS) 
 
TBILISI 00001589  004.3 OF 004 
 
 
 
 17.  (C)  Head: Otar Kvelidze 
 
This is the Government's "Sec ret Service" and is not part of 
MOIA.  In the past, SSPS handled protection of VIPs and 
buildings, diplomatic security, and guarding pipelines.  Four 
years ago, the service was downsized and these functions were 
mostly given to the Security Police.  Now, SSPS focuses on 
guarding the Presidential residence and the Parliament 
building.  Additionally, SSPS officers serve as bodyguards 
for the U.S. Ambassador and are escorts for high-level 
visitors.  SSPS has its own sub-unit, the Operative Technical 
Service, which has a canine unit, a bomb squad, and similar 
specialty forces. 
TEFFT