Border Police of the MIA
The European aspirations and the European choice of the Republic of Moldova required approximation of values and standards to those of the European Union including in the border-related field.
Approval of the National Strategy for Integrated Border Management for 2011-2013 (Government Decision No. 1212 as of 27.12.2010) launched the process of modernization of the Border Guard Service (current Border Police). The process’ long-term benefits included: development of trade and investments; facilitation and acceleration of cross-border transit; ensuring a better control over illegal migration to EU, promotion of tourism, decrease of fiscal and customs losses caused by smuggling, as well as ensuring a more stable and safe security environment in the region.
In order to effectively ensure security over 1453 km of border (of which 684 km of border with Romania – the external border of the European Union) and prevent and combat cross-border crime, the Border Police has developed a well-defined concept of border control in line with EU best practices. The concept comprises: continuity of border control; effective and complex use of means and forces; gradual progress of actions; deployment of Border Police fixed and mobile units according to risks analysis; unitary coordination of activities.
In the view of enhancing Border Police capacities in preventing and combating cross-border crime, trafficking in human beings, illegal migration, illegal crossing of the state border, smuggling (outside the territory of border crossing points), forgery and fraudulent use of documents the Moldovan border agency was assigned with new competences in the area of criminal investigation, examination of contraventions, forensic expertise of travel documents, investigation of cross-border crime, issuance of visas in border crossing points in exceptional cases.
Main aspects of Border Police reform launched on 1 July 2012:
- setting up a public administration body under the Ministry of Internal Affairs carrying out tasks and implementing state policy in the field of Integrated Border Management, combating illegal migration and cross-border crime;
- professionalization and demilitarization;
- establishment within Border Police of subdivisions in the field of criminal investigation and travel documents’ expertise;
- decrease of the total number of positions with approximately 36% (from 5506 to 3543 positions, including 335 positions of maintenance personnel);
- decrease of the number of management positions at central level with approximately 30%, for the benefit of the execution ones at regional and local levels;
- streamlining Border Police activity in terms of decentralization of the decision-making process at operational level.
By Government Decision No. 434 as of 19.06.2012 the Regulation, organizational structure, subdivisions and the limit number of staff (3543 positions, including 335 - maintenance staff) of the Border Police Department were approved.
Organizational structure of the Border Police Department before reorganization
- Border Check and Surveillance General Directorate;
- Procurement General Directorate;
- Human Resources General Directorate;
- General Inspection, Planning and Policy Implementation Directorate;
- Criminal Investigation Directorate;
- Documents’ Expertise Directorate;
- Law, Regime Assistance and Contravention Practice Directorate;
- Financial Directorate;
- International Relations and European Integration Directorate;
- Internal Security Directorate;
- Monitoring and Transmissions Systems Directorate;
- Information Technologies Directorate;
- Secretariat Directorate;
- Assistance Projects and Programs Directorate;
- Public Relations and Mass-Media Unit.
Border Police subordinated divisions before reorganization
- Border Operations Centre;
- Edinet Regional Directorate;
- Otaci Regional Directorate;
- Costesti Regional Directorate;
- Ungheni Regional Directorate;
- Leova Regional Directorate;
- Cahul Regional Directorate;
- Vulcanesti Regional Directorate;
- Basarabeasca Regional Directorate;
- Stefan-Voda Regional Directorate;
- Logistics and Immovable Property Centre;
- National College of the Border Police.
As result of the reform the number of tactical level subdivisions decreased with 38% (out of 118 subdivisions, 73 were created).
Improving the level of initial and continuous professional training based on a modern system was another key priority of the border agency. Staff training in all relevant fields (activity of the mobile and patrolling units, risk analysis, examination of travel documents, joint patrolling, Schengen acquis, foreign languages, combating cross-border crime, cooperation, etc.) was intensified.
Improvement of border security was boosted by a substantial logistics support coming both from state budget resources and external funds.
The EU funded Project “Fixed and Mobile Communications Network for Moldovan Border Guard Service” enabled setting up the radio-relay transmissions system, serving as data transmission bus between different BPD subdivisions. The project allowed providing each BPD subdivision with IT services, and facilitated integration of several services, data centralization and efficiency in transmitting different type of data: voice, video, digital. The system enables secure fixed and mobile communications, video surveillance and transmission of data between locations, thereby improving the quality of activity of BPD staff.
The Automated Information System on border crossings of all Border Police subdivisions responsible for border check was connected online to the Border Police central server, allowing checking the validity of travel documents of the RM citizens, foreign citizens and transport means basing upon INTERPOL data. Moreover, the subdivisions were equipped with devices reading the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) and the RFID chips of travel documents.
The E-Gate system intended for the Automated Control of Crossing the State Border for RM citizens, holders of biometric passports was installed at “Chisinau International Airport” Border Police Sector on entry in the country.
Interconnection of the Integrated Information System of the Border Police with other national information systems ensures constant data exchange, allowing reducing the waiting time for crossing the border.
The “Weapons of Mass Destruction – Proliferation Prevention Program (WMD PPP)” Project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and implemented by URS Federal Services International Inc. (URSFSII) Moldova Representative Office aims to strengthen and improve the capability of Border Police and Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova to deter, detect, and interdict weapons of mass destruction and related materials across Moldova’s state border. The focus is on delivering equipment, equipment-related training aiming to enhance capabilities in command and control, communications, surveillance, WMD detection and interdiction, as well as on increasing border security.
The MIGRECO Project aims to enhance migration management and prevent illegal migration. In the frames of this project, several study visits and experience exchanges were conducted, and also an external consultant on IBM and HR provides assistance to the institution.
A new stage in development of cooperation with neighbouring countries in the area of border control was implementation of joint control in "Briceni-Rossoshany" border crossing point on the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, joint patrolling/monitoring of the “green” border is carried out both with Romania and Ukraine. These actions directly contribute to enhancing border security and improving the quality of services provided to persons crossing the state border.
Fruitful cooperation with the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) played a major role in reorganization of the Border Police. EUBAM actively contributed to development of the legal framework of the Border Police activity, capacity building, improvement of integrated border management, strengthening of interagency and international cooperation. At the same time, EUBAM contributed to establishment of the Mobile Teams’ concept and training of staff intended for Mobile Teams, as well as setting up of the National Coordination Centre within BPD. EUBAM also assisted Border Police in preparing for the EU evaluation missions on implementing the benchmarks of the RM-EU Action Plan on Visa Liberalization. Following the evaluation missions, EU experts highly appreciated the border management of the Republic of Moldova.
The Border Police Department has strengthened cooperation with the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex). Border Police participated in "Focal Points" Land and Air joint operations, carried out in Poland, Romania, Spain border crossing points where BP representatives got acquainted with best practices in the field of documents’ check and combating illegal migration. Under the auspices of Frontex, Moldovan Border Police hosted the “Coordination Points 2013” joint operation, in the frames of which representatives of border agencies of Austria, Romania, Netherlands, Poland and Latvia were seconded to “Criva” and “Tudora” Moldovan BCPs.
Commitment to align activity with EU standards in the area of border management enabled continuation of reforms of the Border Police Department as part of the internal affairs’ system.
Implementation of new legislation provisions determined Border Police to set up new objectives in connection with the institutional reform, namely:
- establishment within Border Police of units able to implement integrated border management in accordance with the new assigned competences (criminal investigation, special investigations, aviation security and public order in BCPs);
- decrease of the number of regional and tactical level subdivisions; establishment of an efficient management system; improving infrastructure, individual security, and the state border control system;
- classification of tactical level subdivisions in two categories according to the vulnerability degree, calculated in dependence of certain factors (strategic importance, displacement, relief, road network, population, flow of persons and transport units, etc.);
- implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the field of border control (in terms of operations, staff, training, finance, communications and information exchange, logistics, risk analysis);
- rapid response to citizens’ complaints and ability to provide quality services in line with international standards.
The institutional reorganization was launched in 2013 and consisted in the following:
- amendment of the normative framework regulating the organizational structure and limit number of staff of the Border Police Department (modification and supplement of the GD No. 434 as of 19 June on Border Police, foreseeing establishment of the new organizational structure);
- decrease of the number of BPD subordinated subdivisions (from 9 to 4 Regional Directorates, from 73 to 41 Border Police Sectors);
- capacity building to implement new competences.
Border Police organization after 15 June 2013:
- central level – Border Police Department;
- regional level – 4 Regional Directorates, ”Chisinau International Airport” Border Police Sector, Logistics and Immovable Property Centre and the National College of Border Police;
- local level – 41 Border Police Sectors.
Following the reorganization, Border Police employment is about 87%.
79,4 % of the total are men, and 20,6% - women. Aiming to inform the staff concerning the reorganization benefits, a well-defined plan has been drafted. As result, most of the officers chose to keep their working places.
The number of management positions and maintenance personnel positions decreased with about 35% in favour of execution positions (intended for border control); the number of officer positions decreased with approximately 25%; capacities of Border Police in criminal investigation, special investigations, and mobile units were strengthened by increasing the number of positions and staff training at regional level; infrastructure at regional and local levels was improved and the subdivisions were provided with modern and sufficient equipment; mobility capacity of central, regional and local subdivisions was significantly increased by providing 90% of subdivisions with transport means; responsibility areas were established; compatibility of personnel in conducting border surveillance and border checks was ensured.
Optimization of subdivisions at regional and local levels resulted in saving 1 662 856,39 MDL (for utilities and fuel).
The on-going Border Police reform will move forward. We believe that by establishing an optimal and efficient management system at all levels and implementing a modern border management we will raise citizens’ confidence in Moldovan Border Police, we will contribute to improving the overall image of the country, and we will further provide input on the European endeavours of the Republic of Moldova.