Medvedev cracks the whip on Russian police force
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Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010, 22:05
Moscow: Amid growing public resentment over a string of police crimes, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday ordered a crackdown on the Interior Ministry, calling for tough action against offences committed by cops.

"Earlier today I have submitted relevant bills to the State Duma and signed a decree. I will personally control the reforms. This is only the beginning," Medvedev said in his televised remarks at a conference of senior police officials.

Aiming to reform the Soviet-era structure of the Interior Ministry, virtually police ministry controlling a large part of the public life, Medvedev said it would be relieved of all functions except for combating crime and maintaining law and order.

He ordered Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to finalise within one month schemes for halving the ministry's central apparatus to 10,000 people. The minister has been asked to submit a detailed plan for improving police work.

"Like in the armed forces and federal security agencies, from now the disobedience of legitimate orders of the superiors will be a culpable crime for the police persons," the president said.

Medvedev has also ordered for a 20 per cent cut in the police strength over the next two years to be balanced by higher salaries for remaining staff, a step aimed at controlling rampant corruption.

He called for the introduction of a new system of anti-corruption measures and procedures for selecting individuals for the police force "taking into account their morals, ethics and psychological characteristics."

Interior Minister Nurgaliyev earlier said the police would use lie-detectors while recruiting new officers.

The crackdown was ordered after a string of police crimes, including shooting of civilians and daily reports of drunk driving by police officials.

"A whole series of incidents involving the Interior Ministry has resonated substantially and has undermined the authority of the Ministry," Medvedev said.

The drunken shooting on April 29, 2009 by the chief of a Moscow police station, Denis Yevsyukov, sparked nationwide outrage and prompted the dismissals of a number of top police officials in the Russian capital.

Every year more than 2,000 murders or attempted murders, 124,000 burglaries and 760,000 cases of theft went unsolved in Russia.


First Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010, 22:05

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