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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Wanted: Cultured Cops With Good Verbal Skills

Moscow traffic police are planning to take on higher caliber recruits as one way to deal with traffic jams and to improve control over the rapidly growing number of cars on the city roads, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Colonel Alexander Lyakhov, deputy head of the city traffic police, told a press conference his department was in need of "more intellectual and cultured policemen" to replace those who have no idea how to communicate with people.

"First of all, a traffic policeman must know how to deal with people, and to learn this skill is a very difficult task," Lyakhov said. "We plan to start hiring people with higher education."

Lyakhov said the police paid special rewards to those servicemen who managed to find stolen cars.

"With the help of such stimuli we are going to attract young people to serve in our department," he said.

Lyakhov said they want to toughen measures against bribe-takers in the traffic police. In the first eight months of this year 20 policemen involved in corruption had been dismissed, he said.

"If you come across evidence of corruption, please call us and believe me, even if you have no witnesses we will keep an eye on a bribe-taker and if there are new facts of bribetaking we will fire him," he said.

Lyakhov said the number of vehicles on Moscow streets had increased by 400,000 in the last 1 1/2 years. There were at present 1.5 million vehicles.

According to traffic police statistics, there were 3,531 road accidents in Moscow in the first six months of the year, a fall of 1 percent over the same period last year. The number of people killed in road accidents over the same period was 610, a fall of 1.1 percent, while the number of injured was 3,620, a 2.4 percent decrease.

"Everywhere you see cars just sitting on the streets and jamming them," he said. "We plan to build multistory parking lots and garages."

He said driver discipline was a major problem, and he called for the doubling or even tripling of fines.

"For example, gangsters very often just take off the number plates, put them inside their car, pick up their machine guns and drive through Moscow," he said. "According to the current law, we can fine them only 2,000 rubles. Is this fair?" he asked of this fine which is worth less than $1.