Rashid Nurgaliyev, on a tour of police stations in central and eastern regions of the country, said that Russian police officers had committed more than 29,000 crimes and violations from January through September -- a 41 percent increase over the same period last year, The Moscow Times reported Friday.
"These are just the violations that have been uncovered," Nurgaliyev added, speaking in the city of Shadrinsk in the Kurgan region.
The interior minister called police work at the district and small-town level "catastrophic" and "rife with violations" in tracking and registering crimes, Russian media reported Thursday.
The habit of boosting crime-solving rates by manipulating statistics, a practice known in police jargon as "chopping sticks," was prevalent among police officers nationwide, Nurgaliyev said.
In recent months Nurgaliyev has taken steps to improve the image of Russian police, including ordering police officers to be "polite" and "tactful" in their interactions with ordinary people.