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Today Minister of Justice Rein Lang gave an overview to the Riigikogu of the most important measures taken by the Government for the implementation of trends of criminal policy approved on 21 October 2003. In his report Minister focused on the issues of numerical crime data and the collection of them, he spoke of the detection of criminal offences and the wide-spread types of criminal offences.

Mr. Lang stated that the present statistics related to crime was not satisfactory. “The Police database POLIS and the register of criminal procedure are not well linked and the quality of the data in the register of criminal procedure is far from satisfactory.” As a curious example Minister presented the data concerning the detection of intoxication according to the register of criminal procedure. “According to the register, a state of intoxication was established only among 11 per cent of the persons against whom criminal proceedings were commenced for driving under the influence of intoxication. The rest were not intoxicated according to the register data. “In my opinion it is not due to the low-quality work of the law enforcement agencies in establishing intoxication, but because of inadequate entry of the data into the register of criminal procedure,” Mr. Lang stated.

According to Minister, the information system of the law enforcement agencies would become better only with implementation of e-files. The first stage of the e-file conception has been approved by the Government, according to it, criminal registers of the Police and judicial criminal registers will be merged into one computerized database.

Speaking of the problems concerning statistics about detection of criminal offences, Mr. Lang admitted to disagreements with the Police. The Police registers detection of a criminal offence even when somebody has been questioned as a suspect. “In the opinion of the Ministry of Justice, in the state based on the rule of law, offences could be regarded as detected, only if offenders have been established upon an enforced court judgment,” Minister stated, adding that in future the perceptions and methods in drafting the relevant statistics will have to be harmonised.

“I can confidently promise you that the report made from this rostrum by the Minister of Justice a year from now the situation with crime in 2006, will be considerably more detailed and based on quality statistics,” Mr. Lang stated.

According to general numerical data, Minister highlighted that 55,589 criminal offences were registered in 2005, more than a half being made up of thefts, as earlier. Mr. Lang also stated that driving under the influence of intoxication had increased last year. As a positive tendency, Minister highlighted the decrease in the number of robberies. “Speaking of Tallinn, one of the reasons is surely the successful work of the special group of investigators and prosecutors, formed against robberies at the initiative of the prosecutor’s office of the Northern Administrative District and the Northern Police Prefecture,” Minister marked.

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Earth’s Crust Act (824 SE), initiated by the Estonian People’s Union Faction, Estonian Centre Party Faction and Estonian Reform Party Faction. Pursuant to the Bill, it provides for the possibility to refuse to accept an application for permitting oil-shale mining into legislative proceeding, until the future use of oil-shale is not determined. According to the plan, the Government should approve the oil-shale use development plan during the first half of this year.


The Riigikogu Press Service

23 February 2006