Victor Yushchenko has taken part in a meeting of the Interior Ministry Council in the village of Novo-Petrivtsi, according to the President’s press-office.

Addressing its members, the Head of State said the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine would soon consider ways to reform Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies as “a fundamental element  of the country’s security.”

The President admitted that the agencies had insufficient budgets but said their major problem was not the lack of material resources but poor management. He added that people often wrote him letters to complain about bad performance of police officers, judges and prosecutors.

Passing laws to rationalize their work might improve the situation, he opined. Mr. Yushchenko urged LEA representatives to elaborate relevant bills and submit them to the Verkhovna Rada for immediate approval. He also said the agencies should better cooperate.

“If you need a special document to cooperate, I will convene all heads of the agencies and we will together agree on a memorandum of cooperation,” he said and then commissioned the leadership of the ministry to come up submit their proposals in ten days.

The President characterized corruption and bribery as the most pressing issues.

“This is the problem of national security,” he said. “Corruption should be daily controlled and monitored.”

He reiterated that the agencies should better prevent smuggling and illegal VAT compensations.

He believes one of the indications of their good work is people’s trust.

“Security of our people is a key test for any police officer,” he said, adding that their bad work also undermined the government’s reputation. “The institutions established to protect national interests sometimes paradoxically pose a threat to these interests.” 

Mr. Yushchenko called on those present to work transparently and in cooperate with society and journalists. “This is one of your duties,” he said.

Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, Legal Advisor to the President Mykola Poludionny and top ministry officials took part in the meeting.