POLIS
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Latvia

General Information

Admission to the OSCE: 10 September 1991

OSCE Mission: September 1993 to December 2001.

Policing overview: The law enforcement bodies in Latvia are the State Police, Security Police and the State Border Guard, all under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior.


State Police

1. Functions and missions
2. Structure and organization
3. Education / Training

1. Functions and missions
The tasks of the police are to:

  • guarantee the safety of persons and society;
  • prevent criminal offences and other violations of law;
  • disclose criminal offences and search for persons who have committed criminal offences;
  • provide assistance, in accordance with procedures prescribed by law, to persons, institutions, and organizations in the protection of their rights and the carrying out of tasks prescribed by law; and to
  • implement, within the scope of its competence, administrative sanctions and criminal sentences.

2. Structure and organization
The Chief of the State Police presides over the Central Administrative Department, Central Criminal Police Department, Personnel Department, Transport Department, Central Public Order Police Department, Press and Public Relations Department, Financial Management Bureau, Forensic Research Department, Internal Security Bureau and the Internal Audit Unit. For more information on the organization of the departments listed, please visit the official website of the Latvian State Police (see Links section).

3. Education / Training
Currently State Police training is delivered by two institutions: State Police College, which delivers vocational training to junior officers, and the Police Academy of Latvia, which delivers Professional tertiary level education to specialists and senior officers.

The State Police College is a State Police educational establishment that gives preparation for the service in the State Police to the will-be employees. The State Police College is carrying out the first level higher vocational education programme „Police Work”, preserving the continuity of the earlier acquired vocational education and providing specialization in accordance with the needs of the State Police (study duration is 2.5 years). The acquired qualification corresponds to the 4th level vocational qualification and the requests stated in the professional standard. Within the structure of the State Police College there is a Police School which carries out Vocational Educational Programme „Police Work” (study duration is 1 year), after completion of which studies can be continued in the State Police College. For more information, please visit the official website of the State Police College (see Links section).

The Police Academy of Latvia was established in 1991 and offers programmes to acquire academic knowledge and professional skills, academic degrees and professional qualification in legal science, civil defence and security as well as in public administration. For more information, please visit the official website of the Police Academy of Latvia (see Links section).

Attachments

  Population per Division and Police Strength [English] (49.00 Kb) Population per Division and Police Strength [English] (Format: MS Word) http://polis-cp.osce.org/countries/view?item_id=25&attach_id=47
Comparative table relative to the Population and Police Strength per Division in Latvia.
  Professional Ethics and Conduct Code of the State Police Personnel [English] (28.50 Kb) Professional Ethics and Conduct Code of the State Police Personnel [English] (Format: MS Word) http://polis-cp.osce.org/countries/view?item_id=25&attach_id=117
Professional Ethics and Conduct Code of the State Police Personnel
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Security Police

The Security Police is subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior with the status of a state security institution. It operates according to the National Security Law, the “Law on Police”, the Law on State Security Institutions, and the Statutes approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. Its scope of activities in the field of state security provision includes the following:

  • The Security Police shall conduct the following activities in the sphere of state security: intelligence (counterintelligence) and operational activities in order to fight organized and economic crime, terrorism, subversive activities, sabotage, gang crimes, corruption, the counterfeit of money and the illegal distribution of narcotics and other strong chemical or radioactive substances, firearms and other types of weapons and explosives;
  • The Security Police shall conduct the following activities in the sphere of state security: counterintelligence and other operational activities necessary to protect the subdivisions of the Ministry f the Interior;
  • The Security Police shall conduct the following activities in the sphere of state security: the protection of state secrets within its jurisdiction as set by the Cabinet of Ministers;
  • The Security Police shall conduct activities of state and local government institutions, as well as legal persons in the sphere of counterterrorism and analysis of state policy implementation in this sphere.

The Security Police provides for the protection of State officials and representatives of foreign and international organizations and institutions, except for those persons under the protection of the Parliament and the State President Security Service (as per the Law on National Armed Forces).

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State Border Guard

1. Functions and missions
2. Structure and organization
3. Education / Training

1. Functions and missions
The functions of State Border Guard are drawn up in the legislation of the Republic of Latvia, the Schengen Implementation Convention, and the Schengen Border Code as follows:

  • Control and guarding of State borders;
  • Border control of persons, vehicles and travel documents;
  • Prevention of illegal border crossings by persons, vehicles, cargoes and other goods;
  • Detection and detention of wanted persons, documents and vehicles at the State border;
  • Radioactivity control at State border crossings;
  • Transport of prohibited or restricted items (e.g. weapons, ammunition, toxic substances) over State borders;
  • Supervision and control of the observation of foreigner residence regulations and visa regimes;
  • Control of obligatory civil liability insurance for border-crossing vehicles;
  • Control of the observation of border, border zone and border regimes;
  • Prevention of movement of goods and other articles over State borders when they attempt to bypass customs controls;
  • Surveillance of adjacent inland territory, port aquarium, inner and territorial waters;
  • Performance of delegated customs duties on the «green border» and at border crossing points;
  • Rendering assistance to preserve nature resources, protect the environment and eliminate the consequences of catastrophes within the border area;
  • Investigation of cases related to offences against the State border and regime;
  • Supervision and control of the observation of the entry, residence, exit and transit of aliens and stateless persons regulations in the territory of the Republic of Latvia;
  • Within the scope of the competence, to perform the activities provided in the Law On Asylum.

2. Structure and organization
See the organization chart in the Attachments section.

3. Education / Training
The College of the State Border Guard was established by the Cabinet of Ministers and is under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior. For more information please visit the college's website (see Links section).

Attachments

  Organization Chart - Latvian State Border Guard [English] (57.07 Kb) Organization Chart - Latvian State Border Guard [English] (Format: ) http://polis-cp.osce.org/countries/view?item_id=25&attach_id=137
English organization chart of the State Border Guard
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Criminal Justice System

1. General information 
2. Prosecution

1. General information
The court system of Latvia consists of district and regional courts as well as the Supreme Court. District courts are established in accordance with the administrative territorial division of the Republic. The five regional courts in Latvia are the second level, corresponding to the historical and existing regions of the Republic, plus one administrative court for all regions. The Supreme Court is the highest level court. While its judgments are final, parties have the right to judicial review in international courts. The Supreme Court is comprised of a senate and two chambers - civil and criminal, with the senate consisting of three departments: civil, criminal and administrative.

The jurisdiction of the administrative courts is determined by the relevant criminal, administrative and civil procedure laws as follows:

  • The district court is the court of first instance for civil and criminal cases and for matters arising from administrative legal matters, except those that fall under the jurisdiction of regional courts and the Supreme Court.
  • The regional court is the court of first instance for criminal and civil matters within the jurisdiction of regional courts in accordance with procedural laws. Regional courts also hear appellate cases adjudicated by district courts.
  • The chambers of the Supreme Court are the appellate courts for matters adjudicated by regional courts as the courts of first instance.
  • The senate of the Supreme Court is the court of last instance for all matters adjudicated by district and regional courts.

The Constitutional Court exists as a separate court in Latvia, and the Constitutional Court reviews matters concerning the compliance of laws to the Constitution within its jurisdiction as provided for by law, as well as other matters under which it is given jurisdiction. The Constitutional Court shall have the right to declare laws or other acts or parts thereof invalid. The Constitutional Court is independent in functional and organizational aspects.

2. Prosecution
The Office of the Prosecutor independently supervises compliance with the laws within its competency. It supervises the work of investigative institutions and the investigatory operations of other institutions; organizes, manages and conducts pre-trial investigations; initiates and conducts criminal prosecutions; maintains charges of the state; supervises the execution of sentences; and protects the rights and lawful interests of persons and the state in accordance with the procedures prescribed by law.

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Links

Ministry of the Interior - Latvia  Ministry of the Interior - Latvia http://www.iem.gov.lv/
Official website of the Latvian Ministry of the Interior, available in Latvian.

State Police - Latvia  State Police - Latvia http://www.vp.gov.lv/?setl=2
Official website of the Latvian State Police, available in Latvian and English

Police Academy of Latvia  Police Academy of Latvia http://www.university-directory.eu/Latvia/Police-Academy-of-Latvia.html
Official website of the Police Academy of Latvia, available in Latvian, English and Russian.

State Border Guard - Latvia  State Border Guard - Latvia http://www.rs.gov.lv/?setlang=1
Official website of the Latvian State Border Guard, available in Latvian and English.

College of the State Border Guard - Latvia  College of the State Border Guard - Latvia http://www.vrk.rs.gov.lv/
Official website, available in Latvian.

State Police College - Latvia  State Police College - Latvia http://www.policijas.koledza.gov.lv
Official website of the State Police College of Latvia, available in English and Latvian.

OSCE/ ODIHR Legislationline - Latvia  OSCE/ ODIHR Legislationline - Latvia http://www.legislationline.org/topics/country/19/topic/12
Legislationline is a gratis internet-based legislative database published and maintained by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

Last Updated: 21 March 2007

Also see: Estonia, Russian Federation, Lithuania, Belarus

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