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Russians More Trusting of Police Following Reform, Survey Shows

The survey, conducted on a representative sample of 1,600 adults, also found that the population's dissatisfaction with police officers' work had subsided in the past few years.

A new survey shows that Russians have become more trusting of police officers since the Interior Ministry underwent wide-ranging reforms in 2011, the Kommersant newspaper reported Thursday.

The survey, which was conducted by the independent Levada Center and the Public Verdict Foundation, showed that 8 percent of Russians expressed complete distrust in police officers this year, compared with 18.3 percent in 2010, Kommersant reported.

In December 2009, then-President Dmitry Medvedev launched large-scale reforms to revamp the country's Interior Ministry, reducing the number of police officers and obliging them to re-qualify for the force. The measures were aimed at increasing the efficiency of the police force and minimizing corruption.

Asmik Novikov, head of research at the Public Verdict Foundation, told Kommersant that a more positive portrayal of law enforcement in the media had helped curb widespread popular skepticism about police officers' work, and that the police had made an effort to improve their public relations and make their work more transparent.

"I think the police simply started to work on their image," Alexander Khinshtein, deputy chair of the State Duma's committee on security and fighting corruption, was cited as saying by Kommersant. "There haven't actually been any major structural or personnel changes in the force, or a new approach to the job."

The survey, conducted on a representative sample of 1,600 adults, also found that the population's dissatisfaction with police officers' work had subsided in the past few years. In 2010, 18.9 percent of the population was extremely dissatisfied with police work in Russia. That figure had dropped to 9.4 percent this year.

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