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President Signs Law Aiming to Reform Russia's Police

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he has signed legislation aimed at reforming the country's police force.

Medvedev said in televised remarks that under the new legislation, former convicts will no longer be able to work in police.

It will also be possible to prosecute policemen for defying their superiors' orders.

Late last year, Medvedev signed a decree to improve the work of the country's police.

The decree ordered a 20 percent cut to the staff of the Interior Ministry, which employs about 1.2 million people.

The cuts will have to be made by January 1, 2012. Extortion scandals are commonplace in Russia and beatings and deaths at the hands of police are also frequent.

compiled from agency reports