Police reform in Georgia

Building Integrity working paper
Farid Osmanov

Farid Osmanov analyses the sweeping reforms of the Georgian police that were implemented by the government of Mikheil Saakashvili. The paper examines the impact of the reforms and analyses them using Nikolas Kirby’s framework of public institutional integrity. The study also differentiates between so-called ‘low’ and ‘high’ policing, a term borrowed from Canadian policing expert Jean-Paul Brodeur and applied to the Georgian context by Alexander Kupatadze. What emerges from this analysis is that high policing, although somewhat reformed, appears ill-positioned to embody and promote institutional integrity. On the contrary, low policing has been more successfully reformed in accordance with the conceptual components of institutional integrity, and with the popular expectations of Georgians. The explanation for these outcomes partly lies with the greater relevance of high policing compared with low policing when it comes to maintaining the government’s grasp on power.