He said that will be in line with President Serzh Sarkisian’s recent criticism of corruption and incompetence within the police ranks.
Sarkisian voiced it at a March 14 meeting with high-ranking police officials. The criticism was followed by the arrest of a police general accused of murder cover-up. Another senior police officer was arrested by the Special Investigative Service (SIS) on similar charges last week.
“Recent cases mean that I too should change my approach,” Alik Sargsian told journalists. “From now on, [there will be more] dismissals, application of various sanctions, and if [a police officer] commits criminal acts punishable by law, I don’t hesitate and myself report them to the Special Investigative Service.”
“Let people be held answerable during investigations. Let people understand that impunity is now unacceptable in the police,” he said.
The police chief did not specify whether he will also get tougher on policemen engaging in business activities or ill-treating criminal suspects in custody.
Armenia -- Nerses Nazarian, chief of Yerevans police department, at a news conference, 25Mar2011.
Sargsian also effectively admitted having had an uneasy rapport with Major General Nerses Nazarian, one of his deputies who runs Yerevan’s police department. Nazarian is said to have never come to terms with Sargsian’s surprise appointment as chief of the national police three years ago and defied him on a number of occasions.
In one such case, Nazarian told a recent news conference that he personally decides whether to allow opposition groups to stage protests in Yerevan’s Liberty Square.
Sargsian revealed that he “reprimanded” Nazarian for that statement but claimed that there are “no problems” between the two men anymore. “He executes my orders without discussion,” he said. “As for the post of police chief, neither I, nor Mr. Nazarian decide that. That is decided by the president of the republic.”
“The president of the republic is the one who appointed me and he will decide one day to dismiss me,” continued Sargsian. “Frankly, I don’t quite care who will be [the next police chief,] Nazarian or somebody else.
“You know, there are many candidates aspiring to this post. They have some hopes, dreams, thoughts. But I find that very normal.”