Victor Yushchenko took part in celebrations of Police Day at the Ukraine National Palace.

In his speech, the President stressed thatUkrainian police “have brilliantly fulfilled all assigned tasks in the past year” and thanked all and particularly Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko for their achievements, he President’s pressservice told.

“I am convinced that today police isdifferent and new,” he said, adding that the rate of crimes had fallen by 6% and in some areas even by 25%.

Yushchenko emphasized that law enforcement agencies should be reformed to work efficiently and pledged to make 2006 “a year of changes.”

“Militia should be first of all focused on individuals and their worries and troubles. I dream of our people being calm when meeting with militia. They should know that regardless of circumstances militia will protect them. And we will have this kind of militia,” he said. “We want to make it serve the people, not the authorities.”

Commenting on reformation of the police, the Head of State stressed that it was necessary to extend civilian functions of the Interior Ministry and give average policemen more authority.

The Head of State reminded those present of policemen’s behavior during the Orange Revolution.

“I think the Ukrainian nation will never forget that at that time of hardshipsour police were committed to the ideals of freedom and loyal to their people,” he said, adding that in those daysthey “acted brilliantly.”

Then the President awarded distinguishing policemen with state orders. Yuriy Cherevanya, Andriy Ulichev and Anatoly Spiridonov were posthumously rewarded for their courage and heroism.



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