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Russia approves police reform bill

Feb. 2, 2011 at 10:14 AM
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MOSCOW, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A parliamentary bill to shake down and clean up Russia's police of corruption was passed in Moscow Wednesday, the interior minister said.

The Federation Council, the equivalent of the senate, passed the bill, which will take effect March 1, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said recruits will undergo more intensive screening, police will be freed of bureaucratic functions and the force's new emphasis will be on crime prevention.

Additionally, the bill provides for a 20 percent reduction in the number of police officers by January 2012 as the least efficient officers are weeded out, the report said.

The new law also sets specific guidelines on when police are allowed to enter homes and guarantees those arrested one telephone call within 3 hours of being detained.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the reform measures in 2009 amid widespread accusations of police brutality and corruption, the news agency said.

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