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Medvedev cracks the whip on Russian police force

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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