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12 Jun, 2009 05:27

Drunk cop fines woman for dangerous driving

An intoxicated Russian traffic cop has been fired after being filmed by a woman whom he pulled over. Consumer rights analysts are not surprised: drunkenness and corruption in the police is commonplace, they say.

Like any busy working mum, Liana relies on her car to get the family from A to B, but she is worried about driving now, after returning from a family visit in the Russian city of Yaroslavl.

Her driving license was confiscated. It was taken by a policeman who claimed she was speeding. She denies this as she claims her car isn’t capable of reaching such high speeds. What is true, however, is that the officer of the law accusing her was drunk, and Liana managed to film the whole thing as evidence.

“I was outraged. I could have expected anything but this. It was totally unprecedented for me that a policeman on duty was so drunk, so soon after the media reports about the police officer who went on a shooting spree in a shop. I was seeing a drunk officer with a weapon, and was worried something nasty could happen,” she said.

The inebriated officer was sacked, but Liana is still feeling the effects of the injustice. She's got a fight on her hands to get her license back, which she maintains was wrongfully taken away.

Liana's case is far from unusual, say consumer rights groups. Corruption, drunkenness at the hands of road police is rife. Viktor Travin, the president of Drivers Rights Board says:

“Unfortunately, these kinds of situations when you encounter drunk road policemen are not rare. There are no actual statistics, but if there were, we would probably be terrified. We receive two to three complains of this sort every day from different parts of Moscow alone.”

Traffic police officials admit there is a problem, but they dismiss the suggestions that it's widespread. Telephone hotlines for driver complaints have been created along with a tougher stance on those who blacken the name of Russia's law enforcement agency.

Colonel Gennady Yakubaev, chief of control and crime prevention unit says:

“We are going to get rid of dishonest policemen and we will do that absolutely legally. We will either send them to the dock at worst or dismiss them at best. If an employee is spotted by our service, he will be on our blacklist forever.”

Good news if it works, but people who have faced rough justice at the hands of incompetent officers are skeptical.