Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Latvia is an East European nation of 2.4 million people located on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea and occupying a territory of 38,946 square kilometers. After declaring its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the creation of an effective police force in Latvia became a priority. The 1991 Law on Police states that the police are an armed militarized government authority whose purpose is to protect, the life, health, rights, freedom, and interests of the state and society from criminal and other illegal threats. The Latvian police consist of the state police, security police, and police units set up by local governments of 26 Latvian counties and 17 municipalities. The state police and security police are components of the Ministry of the Interior. The security police are responsible for the protection of government facilities and state leaders, border protection, investigation of crimes when foreign citizens are involved, ...