Viewing cable 06VILNIUS82
Title: VILNIUS'S LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSE TO INFLUX OF

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS822006-01-26 11:42:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000082 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB, CA/OCS (M. URBINA-MITTNACHT) 
FRANKFURT FOR RSC-RCO RBROWN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: CASC CMGT KCRM PGOV LH
SUBJECT:  VILNIUS'S LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSE TO INFLUX OF 
TOURISTS: WHAT IT MEANS FOR AMCITS 
 
¶1.  This is the first cable in a two-part series detailing 
efforts law enforcement in Lithuania's capital of Vilnius 
are taking to meet the increased demand upon its services 
by a burgeoning tourist industry, and a review of Vilnius's 
local criminal justice facilities. 
 
¶2.  Summary.  More tourists -- and more Amcits -- visit 
Lithuania's capital city of Vilnius every year, and the 
local law enforcement agencies are doing what they can to 
cope.  Utilizing EU funds, they plan several customer 
service improvements that should benefit Amcit visitors, 
including provision of English-language training to 
officers, increasing to nearly 100 the number of 
surveillance cameras in the most heavily trafficked areas 
of Vilnius, and reducing response times on assistance 
calls.  During site visits to two of Vilnius's largest 
central district police headquarters, senior 
administrators, told Consular staff that they still face 
shortfalls in staff, equipment, and financing that can 
affect the quality and celerity of service to visitors. 
End Summary. 
 
¶3.  Three members of Post's consular staff, including a 
Vice Consul, Senior ACS FSN, and Fraud Assistant on January 
17 toured two district police headquarters responsible for 
the most heavily trafficked parts of Vilnius, including the 
area around the U.S. Embassy and Vilnius's airport, and bus 
and train stations.  Staff met with Petras Burdelis and 
Liucija Boruseviciene, commanders of Vilnius' second and 
third commissariats, or district police headquarters, 
respectively.  Discussions with interlocutors were open and 
frank, and consular staff were offered complete access to 
all facilities. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
Vilnius Increasingly Popular for American Tourists 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
¶4.  Lithuania has increasingly become a popular destination 
for travelers from the United States.  GOL statistics 
indicate that travel by Americans to Lithuania increased 30 
percent between 2002-2004, from 27,800 to 36,200 visitors 
per year, respectively.  While most visitors will only 
interact with law enforcement personnel at Vilnius' 
airport, or notice a foot patrol in Old Town Vilnius, a few 
may run afoul of the law and become guests of Lithuania's 
police and penitentiary system.  For incidents involving 
acts at the simple misdemeanor level, most Americans will 
face "administrative" discipline that likely would entail a 
short stay in police lockup and a fine levied at the police 
station.  Administrative offenses include illegal 
employment, possessing an open container of alcohol, 
purchasing or possessing very small amounts of narcotics 
for personal use, breaching public order, theft of property 
valued at less than $50, DUI, minor traffic offenses, using 
public transportation without a ticket, and discharging a 
firearm.  Those involved in more serious incidents, where 
Lithuanian authorities would seek to press formal charges, 
may remain guests of the police station for up to 48 hours 
before being transferred to Lukiskes prison. 
 
------------------------------------ 
GOL Addressing Growth in Tourism... 
------------------------------------ 
 
¶5.  The GOL recently adopted several initiatives to improve 
the quality and responsiveness with which law enforcement 
agencies provide services and assistance to tourists. 
While assistance for Russian or Polish speakers is usually 
available at every police station, the Ministry of 
Interior, using EU seed money, is sending select police 
officers from Vilnius for rudimentary English language 
training over a six-month period.  Though the first cadre 
of 100 officers began this program in January 2006, the 
goal is for district headquarters and smaller police 
stations in Vilnius to have English-language assistance 
available to tourists without the need to call the central 
police headquarters or rely upon contract interpreters. 
Officers attend class once or twice a week in lieu of their 
regular duties for two hours of instruction.  The GOL 
installed 78 video cameras throughout Old Town Vilnius, 
with another 20 slated to come on line before spring. 
Police interlocutors also note that there are efforts 
underway to reduce police response time to telephone 
requests for assistance as well as the time it takes for 
the city SWAT team to come online. 
 
---------------------- 
...Yet Problems Abound 
---------------------- 
 
¶6.  Police interlocutors, however, note that they face 
significant shortfalls in basic manpower and equipment. 
Commander Boruseviciene, whose district covers the bulk of 
Old Town Vilnius, the airport and bus and train stations, 
told us that she has only 170 officers and seven vehicles 
with which to provide services to the more than 9,000,000 
people per annum that transit her district.  She also noted 
that there were also only six computers to serve her 
district headquarters, so officers often must utilize their 
own personal computers for work.  A significant contributor 
to the dearth of personnel, she said, is that the post-tax 
starting salary for a police officer is approximately $240 
per month, roughly half the average Lithuanian salary.  The 
GOL's delivery of promised salary increases and funding for 
equipment and police station renovations often fall short 
of what is needed. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶7.  With tourism on the rise in Lithuania, there is a good 
chance that we will see more foreigners -- including 
American citizens -- interact with the Lithuanian penal 
system.  Though it will be a struggle for the Vilnius 
police to meet the challenge of increased tourist traffic 
on their meager resources, they have taken some necessary, 
commonsense steps to meeting the challenge.