In the report on the implementation process and results of the government’s five-year plan for 2022, the Patrol Service was also referred to among the steps aimed at solving domestic security issues. In the report, the government attributed unsubstantiated indicators to the Patrol Service.
“The patrol police have started their service in Shirak, Lori, Tavush, Gegharkunik, Kotayk, Aragatsotn provinces. Preparations for introducing patrol police in Armavir, Ararat, Vayots Dzor, Syunik provinces are underway. The first results of the patrol police service are visible, in particular with the improvement in the road traffic safety level. Despite the continuous increase in the number of cars, in 2022, the number of accidents decreased by 296 cases or by 6.4% compared to 2021, the number of injured decreased by 546, the number of deaths decreased by 47,” the government report reads.
In reality, out of the 6 provinces mentioned, the Patrol Service operated only in Shirak and Lori provinces in 2022. The Patrol Service started operating in Tavush, Gegharkunik, Kotayk and Aragatsotn provinces only from January of this year. Therefore, it is not appropriate to include the patrol service in these provinces in the annual report.
We also sent an inquiry to the Police regarding the statistics on accidents in the previous 3 years by provinces. However, we were not able to identify any causal relationship between the launch of the Patrol Service and the decrease in the number of accidents.
Thus, the Patrol Service in Yerevan city started operating in July 2021. That year, 1,920 road accidents were registered in Yerevan, as a result of which 78 people died. Last year, the number of road accidents registered in Yerevan decreased to 1797, and 53 people died. Here it is obvious that there is a downward trend.
Now let us see how the number of accidents and related deaths have changed in Shirak and Lori provinces, where the service was launched from April 2022.
In 2021, 229 road accidents were registered in Shirak province, as a result of which 20 people died. Already in 2022, this indicator noticeably decreased: 203 accidents, 12 deaths. However, it should be noted that the figure for 2022 is very close to the one for 2020: 199 accidents, 11 deaths. In other words, there are still not enough statistical data to consider the decrease in the number of accidents and deaths as a result of the launch of the Patrol Service.
The picture is a little different in Lori province. Here, in the last 3 years, the number of accidents has continuously decreased, but in parallel, the number of deaths has increased. In 2020-2022, 269, 261 and 248 road accidents were recorded, respectively, as a result of which 32, 33 and 46 people died. Here, too, there is no reason to claim that the situation has improved due to the launch of the Patrol Service.
As for the government’s assertion about the improvement of road safety in Tavush, Gegharkunik, Kotayk and Aragatsotn provinces due to the launch of the Patrol Service, as we mentioned, last year this service was not yet launched in the above-mentioned provinces. Therefore, the improvement of some indicators has nothing to do with the Patrol Service.
Moreover, the statistics of traffic accidents recorded in these provinces are not comparable with each other in the sense that in some provinces a positive shift has been observed, while in others the picture is the opposite.
For example, in Gegharkunik province, the number of road accidents decreased from 261 to 248 in 2022 compared to 2021, while the number of deaths increased from 33 to 46. The same picture can be observed in Aragatsotn province – 422 accidents, compared to 457 accidents in 2021, and 40 deaths in 2022, compared to 33 in 2021.
In Tavush province, the number of both accidents and deaths has increased. In 2022, 175 road accidents were recorded in the region, which exceeds the figure of 2021 by 15, and the number of deaths increased by 3, reaching 17.
The picture is completely opposite in Kotayk province. The number of both accidents and deaths decreased here. Compared to 2021, the number of accidents decreased by 35: 422 accidents compared to 547 in 2021, and the number of deaths decreased by 20. In 2021, 53 people were killed in road accidents in Kotayk province, and 33 in 2022.
The picture is the same in those provinces where the Patrol Service has not yet been launched. For example, in Ararat, Armavir and Syunik provinces, the number of accidents and deaths decreased last year compared to 2021, while in Vayots Dzor province, the exact opposite situation was observed.
Therefore, it would be wrong to unequivocally claim that the number of accidents and death decreased in the republic due to the launch of the Patrol Service.
Thus, when referring to the Patrol Service in its annual report, the government first attributed to the latter an improvement in indicators, which is not substantiated in any way, and also, the launch of the Patrol Service in a number of provinces in 2023 was included in the 2022 report.