Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is to sign an order reducing the number of economic crime departments and eliminating tax crime departments altogether, as part of a new structure for the police, a Russian business daily quoted a Kremlin official as saying.
Medvedev will sign the order at a meeting on police reform in Sochi on August 6, the official said, according to Vedomosti.
Under the reforms, economic and tax crime department officials will undergo professional evaluations, after which 20-25% of the force will be made redundant, a source close to police said.
All tax crimes will be transferred to the Russian Prosecutor General's Office Investigative Committee.
The move comes in response to a growing number of claims that after investigations are initiated by an economic crime department, a tax crime department then opens an additional case based on the same evidence, making businesses endure the investigative process twice.
Russian MP Vladimir Gruzdev, said tax investigations were often opened to conduct corporate raids.
Last month, Medvedev signed five laws concerning Russia's police but said new legislation was still needed as part of ongoing reforms.
The president said the five bills, which improve existing legislation and toughen the requirements for future police officers, were about making sure past problems were not allowed to reemerge.
In July, the president said the amendments to police legislation should help prevent corruption among officers and make it impossible for them to use their position to suppress citizens' rights and freedoms.
He also said police officials should be given greater social benefits, and suggested that a separate law should perhaps be drawn up for this goal.
The state of Russia's police has become a great concern after a number of high-profile police scandals, including the random shooting of several people in a supermarket by an off-duty police officer in April 2009.
In response to growing criticism, Medvedev ordered a large-scale reform of the police in December 2009, including cutting the number of policemen and increasing salaries.
MOSCOW, August 2 (RIA Novosti)