KHERSON , Ukraine, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Ukraine will nearly double the number of its police officers by the end of the year, Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov said Tuesday.
"As of today, the number of our police amounts only to 3,200. We will have 6,000 police officers by the end of the year," he said while in Kherson, in southern Ukraine.
He said previously a new police organization would replace the current force by Nov. 7 in an overhaul of the country's internal security system.
With hostilities between Ukraine and Russia in a truce, Ukraine's national police force is taking precedence over its army. A Western-style police organization was to have been in place by August, and thus far Avakov has not named a chief.
Former Interior Minister Yuny Lutsenko has been critical of Ukraine's attempts to modernize and reform its national police, and noted at a conference in Kiev that Ukraine has seen an increase in crime and no attempts to purge its police of corrupt officers.
"There is a gap between the law and its execution. We see a lot of weapons in Ukraine, and people who are ready to use them without any doubt," Lutsenko said.
Deputy Interior Minister Ekaterine Zguladze-Glucksmann commented, "Internal reforms, internal stabilization, and the credit-building of society and law enforcement are at the heart of winning this war."
Speaking at the conference, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt noted Russia's plan for Ukraine's capitulation was initially "not to have tank battalions rolling into Kiev" but "subversion, disorder and undermining [of] the police force."