ROSTOV-ON-DON, February 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Interior Ministry will downsize its central office and transfer some of its functions to the regional level, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said on Wednesday.
“Work is underway to ensure that the officers’ slots thus vacated are handed down to the regions where they will be taken up by officers directly involved in crime control and enforcement of public order,” he said.
The minister offered no indication of the extent of the downsizing.
He said regional police chiefs are authorized to redistribute their personnel, concentrating forces on ensuring public security and protection of citizens’ rights.
As a result of the ongoing process of police reform, the ministry’s staff has been reduced by about 20 percent, prompting public concern this may affect the police’s overall performance.
In an interview with Rossia 1 TV earlier this month, Kolokoltsev said the ministry’s downsizing will go hand in hand with more effective street policing, including mobile patrols.
Russia’s Security Council head Nikolai Patrushev said on Tuesday state security and law enforcement agencies, including the Interior Ministry, will retain their investigative functions for now.
A presidential decree, currently being drafted, will provide for a redistribution of investigative functions as part of comprehensive law enforcement reform, he said. The reform aims to make crime investigations more effective and boost the clearance rate, improve professional training and make investigations more objective and independent.
Patrushev also said the Investigative Committee’s functions will be expanded to include investigating crimes that are currently handled by the Interior Ministry and the Federal Drug Control Service.