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Poll: Public Likes Parts of Police Law

The public has warmed to the new Kremlin-backed police law, set to come into effect in March, according to a survey conducted earlier this month by the state-run VTsIOM pollster.

The most popular new provision, which requires officers to inform people who have filed complaints with the police on how the investigation is advancing, is welcomed by 89 percent of the respondents, VTsIOM said Tuesday.

U.S.-inspired rules requiring policemen to read a person his rights upon detention and guaranteeing the detainee the right to a phone call are approved by 87 percent and 88 percent of the populace, respectively, the report said.

The ban on using batons, tear gas, water cannons and other similar equipment when dispersing peaceful protests is supported by 76 percent of the public.

Most figures in the poll show minimal dynamics compared with an identical survey conducted in October. The only exception is the public's stance on the provision allowing policemen to break into people's homes without a search warrant in "extreme situations," the support for which skyrocketed from 25 percent to 77 percent.

The poll covered 1,600 people in 46 regions and had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

It skipped several controversial provisions, including the police's right to check businesses and to provide commercial security services — two prerogatives often abused by corrupt officers in the past.

Most analysts and rights activists interviewed by The Moscow Times about the new police law said it is unlikely to decrease the rampant corruption in the more than 1 million-member police force.

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