“There has been a significant decrease in crime both compared to 2010 and compared to last year, parallel to which the success rate of investigations has also increased”, Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér said before Parliament’s Defence and Law Enforcement Committee on Thursday.

The Minister, whose annual report was accepted by the Committee with 6 votes for and 2 against, highlighted the fact that last year 11 thousand fewer crimes were committed compared to 2010, and the success rate of investigations had increased by 71 percent. “This is a unique improvement, even when compared to Europe’s major cities”, he added.

According to Mr. Pintér, the marked improvement is not only the result of the efforts of police, but also of other social changes including the public work programme, which has given many people the opportunity to earn a higher income than they used to do on benefits.

He also highlighted the self-restraint of citizens, thanks to which the number of road traffic accidents that occurred under the influence of alcohol had been successfully reduced to under ten percent. This index stands at around 8 percent and “has never been this low since I joined the police force 45 years ago”, he said.

Mr. Pintér also said that migration pressure had fallen significantly since the three-tier – legal, physical and manpower – defence system had been introduced. “The threat level has not fallen, however; we have received reports of a significant increase in the number of migrants from both Belgrade and Subotica”, he added. The number of personnel involved in protecting the border is being increased by three thousand, he highlighted.

The Minister of Interior said police weapons were outdated in view of the fact that the system is 60-70 years old, adding that the Government has authorised the modernisation of weaponry through re-launching the manufacturing of small arms in Hungary, with plans including the manufacturing of handguns, service pistols, machine guns, assault rifles and machine guns, and the related ammunition.
With relation to the work of the Counter-Terrorism Intelligence and Criminal Analysis Centre, he highlighted the fact that 11 airlines are now providing up-to-date passenger information with relation to 23 routes, which facilitates the monitoring of air travel.

On the subject of the prison service, the Minister stressed the additional 102 billion forints (EUR 330M) in funding that will enable the construction of eight new prisons and the modernisation of Tököl Hospital within the next four years.

He also spoke about the introduction of the career model for law enforcement service staff, noting that if Parliament authorises the Budget Bill, then law enforcement employees will receive another 5 percent wage increase next year.

With relation to disaster management, the Minister highlighted the importance of reinforcing the voluntary sector, while with regard to the Office of Immigration and Asylum he said the agency had done an outstanding job in handling migration.

Concerning the working conditions of personnel on duty along the border, Mr. Pintér said the construction of the full border security system will enable a reduction in the number of staff on duty along the border, which will in turn enable the establishment of better conditions.

In reply to a question concerning the vetting of the Prime Minister, Mr. Pintér explained that the list of people who need to undergo national security vetting is determined by law, and the Prime Minister is not included in the scope of competence of the investigation, but it may nevertheless be stated that the Prime Minister does not represent a risk to national security in view of the fact that no data to the contrary has ever emerged.

With relation to the Roma murders committed during the Gyurcsány administration, the Minister said the secret service investigation was still ongoing.

Mr. Pintér also spoke about the fact that for the moment only news reports have been published with relation to the Soros affair, no official complaint has been made to police thus far, adding that banning Soros is impossible according to the Constitution in view of the fact that he is a Hungarian citizen. He noted, however, that some countries have implemented measures of this nature against George Soros, adding that if police become aware that George Soros is suspected of committing a crime, proceedings will be launched accordingly.