Police in Kazakhstan are as of now under instructions to be more polite to the public and to refrain from using informal pronouns — such as the Russian “ty” (you) — or beckon people by just saying “hey.”
Tengri News website on March 15 cited the Interior Ministry as saying that instructions on politeness and proper behavior are included in overall police training courses.
“The conduct of Interior Ministry personnel is regulated by the government workers ethical code and departmental edicts laid down by the Interior Ministry. For police or traffic inspectors to talk in a rude manner or address people and drivers as ‘ty’ is not permitted,” the ministry was cited as saying in a statement.
People that feel they have been improperly addressed can file complaints with the Interior Ministry in person or over the phone.
Rules regulating proper behavior by police when dealing with the public already existed, although in practice there is often slippage in standards.
In another recent example of an apparent attempt by authorities in Kazakhstan to raise general levels of urbanity among the population, city hall in Shymkent last month “strongly forbade” bus conductors from yelling at every stop. The conductors would typically advertise their route by shouting the name of every stop ahead — a cacophonous practice that seems to have irked many members of the public. (See here for examples).
Tengri News reported that conductors and drivers in the southern city have been sent for training to teach them the importance of keeping buses clean, refraining from smoking, playing loud music and talking on the phone while driving, and not to swear at passengers.
The general behavior of bus-based personnel is indeed a matter of long-standing concern in Kazakhstan. Over a number of years, transportation bodies in the business capital, Almaty, frequently ran spot checks on drivers and often found some of them to be under the influence of alcohol and, in some cases, narcotics while on the job.
Last year, police in Almaty again took aim at spitting in the street — another all-too-common habit. First-time offending public spitters are on paper liable for a 10,600 tenge fine (around $30), although enforcement is relatively unusual.
In April 2016, Almaty police appealed to members of the public to film or take photos of spitters so as they could take action.
“This is all being done within the framework of ‘zero tolerance against petty violations’ principle,” Almaty police representative Saltanat Azirbek told Tengri News last year.