Russia to cut police force by 20 percent before 2012

10:12, December 25, 2009      

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree Thursday ordering the cut of the Interior Ministry personnel by 20 percent before Jan. 1, 2012.

The president also ordered closure of two ministry departments, "with the aim of optimization of control" of the police force, said the Kremlin press service. The departments in question were not specified.

Citing increased incidents of police violating law and abusing office, the decree said "a justifiable negative reaction in society" has been provoked, and "the prestige of authority" weakened.

Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev was given three months by the decree to review selecting procedures of interior services candidates, "with their moral, ethical and psychological characteristics being taken into consideration, in order to raise the professional standards of the personnel."

The ministry was also ordered to step up measures eradicating police corruption, including "rotation of senior staff" and "development of a scientifically-based system of performance assessment."

Earlier in an interview broadcast live on state television, Medvedev pledged "major, drastic changes" to the ministry with the preservation of its core staff "capable of responsible work."

Russia currently has a police force of about 1.4 million people, according to the Interfax news agency.

Source: Xinhua
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