196 new vehicles to Albanian State Police fleet

The State Police modernization project today was materialized with a total of 196 new vehicles that added to the police fleet today under the EU pre-accession assistance programme IPA for Albania.

Modernization of the State Police’s fleet is designed to enhance the police effectiveness and transform the force to increasingly live up by the citizens’ expectations and demands for an optimum service.

Prime Minister Edi Rama, together with the Minister of Interior Sandër Lleshaj, was at Tirana’s Mother Teresa Square, where the handover ceremony of the modern vehicles took place. The vehicles will be distributed to the various sectors of the State Police.

Interior Minister Lleshaj noted that the co-funding program worth 8.1 million euros, in the framework of which the new vehicles were acquired, will address the needs of the Order Police units; the Criminal Police, Rapid Intervention Force, as well as it will renew the fleet of the regional police directorates. “These are 196 new vehicles acquired in the framework of EU’s IPA programme for Albania, a joint investment worth 8.1 million euros as part of this project, of which 4.8 million euros were provided by the EU whereas 3.3 million euros by Albania. With this fleet we equip more than 2000 policemen with motor vehicles. Such an investment has not been carried out for a long time and the vehicles will be distributed according to a plan endorsed by the State Police chief. They will be delivered to the special unit forces Renea, Rapit Intervention Forces, and will be used to renew the fleet of the regional police directorates. With the addition of these vehicles, the operational readiness, effectiveness and response of the police, because, despite the relatively low number of police officers, if equip and make the police force mobility and readiness we can also significantly upgrade their effectiveness. Our European partners and everyone involved in this project deserve great gratitude, because the project has required large administrative volume.”

On his part, the Director General of the State Police Ardi Veliu noted that such vehicles will for the first time significantly upgrade the level of police services and operations.

“The 49 white off-road vehicles will be distributed to the regional police directorates. They are all four-wheel drive cars. For the first time, the Rapid Intervention Force and the Special Police Unit Renea will have same car brand. The cars’ interior is equipped with all special options, while their exterior features protective panels that provide protection against stone-throwing and other potential hazards. The  lower part is made of steel, providing protection against engine damages, while the inner part is equipped with a special compartment for the firearms. Unlike previously, the police officers will be able to move easily, whereas the rear part of the vehicles features shelves to store riot shields, as well as other individual and collective devices and equipment the police officers use during their operations. There are 51 such vehicles. Special police forces will use such vehicles. Around 30% of the police fleet currently in use need to be renewed,“ he said.

The EU Ambassador in Tirana, Luigi Soreca, praised the police’s hard work over the past months, underlining that the EU has been and remains a major donor for Albania and its recovery needs since November. “I am happy to be here today and hand over this modern fleet of vehicles. The new fleet includes 49 Land Rover cars, 96 minivans, which will be used in the police patrolling operations, transport of the police officers, frontline operations, the operations against drug cultivation and trafficking, and the border and migration police activities. Indeed, this is a crisis time, as we all know, and for the police to properly and professionally conduct operations and deliver service to the citizens amid the Covid-19 pandemic it is important to be equipped with the right vehicles. That’s why I want to praise the State Police for the tireless work they have done over the last few months. During these difficult moments, the EU has stood by Albania and since November, the EU has been and continues to be the most important donor for Albanian citizens, for the immediate needs they have had for the country’s recovery. We just ended the Europe Week and our motto is Stronger Together and this is clearly demonstrated today,” Ambassador Soreca said in his remarks.

Expressing gratitude to the EU for the consolidated cooperation, PM Rama noted that the modernization project goes on and will further expand to enhance the State Police’s technological capacities by introducing more sophisticated equipment. “Thank you very much for the contribution and the cooperation. This joint financial contribution, with the EU’s contribution unquestionably accounting for the most considerable part of it, in addition to the Albanian government contribution, is a clear demonstration of the fact that together we are radically transforming the country and the State Police in particular. This was unimaginable just few years ago. The State Police we found when we took over the government were in miserable state. The State Police’s vehicle fleet was ridiculous, while today we provide the police officers and the special forces in particular a new motor power, a whole fleet of vehicles that would provide optimum operation conditions, which are the most special and dangerous operations for them. Of course, this won’t end here. This is just another step towards modernization of the police force. We now want to move further with plans to enhance technological capacities of the State Police, boost the digital capacities by introducing more sophisticated equipment, including the state-of-the-art drones and other equipment,” the Premier concluded.