Moscow safer than New York: Russian minister

New York, May 21 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian police reforms have proved so successful that, in some areas, Moscow outperforms New York on safety, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has boasted while on a visit to the US.

Kolokoltsev made the claims during a meeting in New York late Monday with New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

“We have compared the crime situation in Moscow and New York, factoring in the number of residents and police personnel responsible for ensuring security,” Kolokoltsev explained.

He claimed that, in some respects, parts of Moscow are even safer than New York, although he did not cite concrete statistics.

Kolokoltsev is in the US for a series of meetings with law enforcement officials on a range of issues from day-to-day crime, to drug trafficking and terrorism, a press release posted on the interior ministry web site Tuesday says.

Kolokoltsev also praised the recent reforms of Russia’s police service, highlighting that they built on the New York police’s experience, particularly in “the direct responsibility of a commanding officer for his subordinates’ actions, including suspension or even dismissal”.

In 2011, Russia launched sweeping reforms of the 1.2-million-strong police force, which has long been notorious for corruption and abuse of authority.

Some 200,000 officers were dismissed, salaries were raised, and the force, which had continued to be known by the Soviet-era “militia” even after the Soviet Union collapsed, was renamed the “police”.

These high-profile reforms, however, have so far done little to build public trust in the institution within Russia. According to a survey by the independent pollster Levada, public confidence in the police stood at just 29 percent in October.

In February Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the interior affairs ministry, pointing out that 45 percent of crimes in Russia remain unsolved.

–IANS/RIA Novosti


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