Page last updated at 22:21 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Russia admits police corruption

By Richard Galpin
BBC News, Moscow

Major Alexei Dymovsky in Moscow, 10 November 2009
Maj Dymovksy alleged police accepted bribes because they were poorly paid

The Russian government has admitted that parts of the police have been turned into what the interior minister has described as criminal businesses.

It is the most frank admission so far of corruption and other crimes being committed by members of the police.

It came after a senior policeman in southern Russia posted a video on the internet in which he appealed to the prime minister to tackle the problem.

It is the latest in a series of highly embarrassing revelations about police.

Earlier this year a senior police officer went on a shooting spree in a Moscow supermarket, killing three people.

The incident was recorded on security cameras and the video was widely broadcast on Russian TV and on the internet.

Now a serving police officer, Major Alexei Dymovsky, has spoken out in a video, also posted on the internet which has registered more than 700,000 hits in just a few days.

The officer from southern Russia accuses his superiors of forcing policemen to arrest innocent people to ensure monthly quotas are met.

And he says they are paid so little they have no choice but to accept bribes.

Interior ministry pledge

It is very unusual for a policeman to speak out so openly.

And he has clearly had a major impact - holding a packed news conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

He said he wanted to meet the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to ensure there was a proper investigation to restore the honour and dignity of the police force.

The interior minister has announced that any policeman accused of committing serious crimes will face prosecution.

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