PM Stanishev: Systematic Pressure Should Be Exerted on Organized Crime Groups

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PM Stanishev: Systematic Pressure Should Be Exerted on Organized Crime Groups

"Systematic pressure should be exerted on organized crime in Bulgaria, not just by reaching the investigating and court stage, but through trials as well, which is the most important result people expect," Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said on Tuesday. Stanishev and Interior Minister Mihail Mikov discussed reform options for the Ministry, BTA reported.

"The Ministry has its own ways of exerting permanent pressure on these groups, even when there is not enough evidence, so as to instil respect in this power ministry. I expect both the Interior Minister and the Ministry's professional leadership to take such measures," Stanishev said.

One of the planned changes is setting up an agency in place of the Operational and Technical Information Directorate and the Operational Search Directorate. However, it has not been decided yet whether the agency will be part of the Interior Ministry or will become part of the Justice Ministry, Mikov said. This will help better organize control over the use of special surveillance means.

Unfortunately, the Interior Ministry drew unflattering media interest in recent months and confidence in it was shaken, Stanishev said. A bill amending the Interior Ministry Act should be drafted as soon as possible, he added.

Mikov believes the map of organized crime in Bulgaria should be analysed, and the central unit combating it should have subunits in black spots of organized crime.

Mikov also talked about "Chinese walls" between services in the Interior Ministry or even between bodies outside it. The Ministry's Internal Security Department may be promoted as a unit superior even to the police, he told journalists.

Mikov said the structural changes in the Ministry should involve a loyalty assessment of the various units. The Ministry has a history of major loyalty-related problems, Mikov said. "We will give some hard time to those who have 'one foot on the other side'."

The Interior Ministry leadership also discussed the preparations for Bulgaria's entry into the Schengen area.

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