MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti)
Police Complain About Heavy-Handed Discipline
Policemen in Pushkino, northeast of Moscow, have complained that their superiors are setting them ‘targets’ for fines and arrests and that they get punished for failing to meet them. Human rights campaigners are warning that this practice is leading to police violence.
A source at the Moscow Region Prosecutor’s Office say they are investigating several complaints by policemen, which allege that Valery Popov, an officer from Pushkinskoye, set quotas of five detention protocols and one petty crime for each patrol. Policemen who failed to meet these ‘targets’ had to work additional hours. Each patrol had to bring in at least two individuals without residence permits to clean the police department grounds. Failure to do so meant they were forced to do the cleaning themselves. Those who refused were scheduled to work the least convenient hours.
A third of officers were denied their regular vacation because they were only allowed to take it after they had uncovered a crime.
Popov was unavailable for comment. His colleagues said he was on vacation. He has previously denied the allegations.
The Main Interior Department for the Moscow Region has also investigated the complaints, spokesperson Yevgeny Gildeyev said. The inquiry failed to confirm the policemen’s claims. “We have not found any violations in the department’s work. Out of the 170 policemen serving there, only 10-12 expressed dissatisfaction. Those spreading these rumors are not the best workers,” he said.
Interestingly, many policemen take this practice for granted and do not see anything wrong with it. “People need incentives; otherwise they won’t work hard,” said one policeman serving in a town outside Moscow. “The problem is that police numbers have been cut, and crime has gone up. We have to work extra hours sometimes.”
Human rights activists have often criticized this system of evaluating a police officer’s performance. It was not officially abolished until 2010 when Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev signed an order declaring the police should be assessed according to the quality of their work and compliance with the law, rather than by the number of crimes solved. Public opinion was also to be taken into account.
However, the old system is not so easily rooted out, said Andrei Babushkin, head of the Committee for Civil Rights. It is etched in their minds and they sometimes break the law to achieve their targets. For example, they may beat suspects. Essentially, the performance of law enforcement agents should be evaluated by those who deal with the police on a daily basis – lawyers, suspects or medical experts, he said.
This system has a negative psychological impact on policemen, said chief police psychiatrist Mikhail Vinogradov. “They become desperate to meet the targets even if the required number of crimes hasn’t been committed over the specified period. They resort to unlawful actions, usually picking on individuals who already have a police record. Sometimes completely innocent people get arrested. I don’t know how long it will take to change this mentality,” he said.
Why We Are Protesting
Alexander RASTORGUYEV, documentary filmmaker
“I just started feeling responsible for the fading power of truth.
We must brace ourselves and go, even if we’re full of self-irony and realize how pointless it is because those at the helm are above it all.
I loved the Zhiguli bar in Arbat so much, with its big windows and the whole Arbat spread out before you. Now they’ve come here to give themselves a plug.
We have to go. We could probably grab a bite to eat in the Kremlin cafeteria afterwards.”
Boris DUBIN, social scientist
“I’m going and I’m taking my son with me. I don’t want this hideousness to last, this disgrace that so many have become accustomed to and which is called stability and order. You know, the story didn’t begin today and it won’t end today because where we are actually matters because this is OUR time.”
Andrei BILZHO, artist
“I go to every opposition event, just because my feet carry me there, even if my brain has doubts and cannot relate to the speakers. There are people I sympathize with, who don’t always agree with the protest leaders either. But they see it as their duty to be there, all together. And I have a surprisingly clear feeling that I cannot not go.”
Ksenia SOBCHAK, journalist and TV presenter
“I’m working on May 6. If I get the chance I will definitely go along. Unfortunately, time is running out. Now is the time to present our agenda to the people. The only reasonable options today are organizing an alternative shadow government and a united democratic party. We must become a force that will persuade people that the situation can and must change. For that to happen, people with whom the majority of sensible people agree must come together and offer something. The authorities are doing all they can to make them look like a bunch of loudmouths. If nothing happens that’s exactly what they will look like. That’s what scares me.”
Oleg KOZYREV, blogger
“I understand that I have to go out onto the streets on Sunday. All my friends who protested before will be there on May 6. I’m sure there’ll be just as many this time. There was a period of frustration within the organizational committee and now it’s important that the people leading the march set the standards for a peaceful protest and individual courage. I hope this day will go down in history like August 19, 1991.
We must keep demanding fair elections every day of this illegitimate power, every second this leader whom the people didn’t elect stays in power. Ukraine managed it and so can we.
We must show the world that we are not happy about someone bypassing competition and the will of the people to assume power.
I am ready to put up a tent but I think there’s a reason why Vladimir Putin has been building up the police forces all this time.”
Was Tymoshenko’s Beating Ordered by Ukrainian Prosecutor General?
Yulia Tymoshenko’s lawyer tells MK who is behind the crime
Ukraine’s most notorious political prisoner, Yulia Tymoshenko, has beaten herself up. She bruised her legs and arms and followed that up with hard blows to the stomach. This is the version of the events according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General, who has refused to initiate criminal proceedings. Tymoshenko’s lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, told MK recent evidence shows that Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka himself is behind the assault.
On Friday night, Pshonka announced that the Kharkov Regional Prosecutor has examined Tymoshenko’s complaint about the beating and produced three volumes of notes on the case. Kharkov Prosecutor’s Office reconstructed the events between April 20 and 22. Over 80 witnesses have been questioned and. all the documents scrutinized.
Pshonka revealed that the prisoner remained calm as she was transported from the penal colony to a medical facility. She did not complain. There were no incidents. Her behavior remained the same at the hospital, says another prisoner who was in the same ward with Tymoshenko.
Therefore, Pshonka concluded, the former prime minister’s compliant was aimed at misleading the public. He refused to open an assault case.
All of that would make sense except that there are photographs of Tymoshenko’s bruises. So, how did the bruises come about? The prosecutors have a simple answer to this. Kharkov Regional Prosecutor Gennady Tyurin suspects Tymoshenko had harmed herself.
“We could appeal the ruling of the Prosecutor’s Office,” Tymoshenko’s lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko says. “We are currently reading through the argument against opening the case. But I can assure you that the prosecution did not trouble to interrogate Ms Tymoshenko. This says a lot about the quality of the inquiry.”
“I can understand bruises on her arms and legs,” Vlasenko added. “But you can’t hit yourself in the stomach that hard. I have reliable evidence of the fact that the beating was ordered by Viktor Pshonka himself. It’s impossible to get a fair trial in such circumstances.”
Vlasenko fears the beatings may continue. Friday was the 15th day of Yulia Tymoshenko’s hunger strike. At a briefing at the Kachanovskaya Penal Colony, Karl Max Einhäupl, a doctor at the Charite clinic in Germany, announced that the former prime minister gave her provisional consent to undergoing treatment, which will be conducted at the Kharkov Central Clinical Hospital.
RIA Novosti is not responsible for the content of outside sources.
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