The bill provides for Russian police obtaining a new status - persons with state guarantees of "presumption of confidence and support." They will also be provided with new rights - from accessing vehicles to opening fire in crowded places. The amendments were introduced by a group of MPs from all factions headed by the chairman of the security committee Irina Yarovaya (United Russia), after consultation with the State Legal Department, the president and the government.
MPs propose to extend the powers of the police in the use of weapons. In particular, the police will only be prohibited to shoot at women with "visible signs of pregnancy". Also, the police will have the right to fire in crowded places. Currently they can open fire in crowded places only to prevent terrorist attacks and hostage-taking. "Extending the right to use firearms means that those police officers who previously feared doing and were hesitant, will now be officially permitted to do so by law," Committee Against Torture expert Sergey Babinets stated.
Authors of the bill are also planning to grant the police new rights to invade privacy. Search of citizens, their belongings and vehicles will be allowed not "provided the information" that they possess weapons or drugs, but if "there is reason to believe" it. Accessing objects of private property will be allowed for the detention of persons who escaped from a crime scene, but still do not have official status of suspects or defendants. This is necessary in case the crime "had been committed and witnessed by the police officers, but the culprit had barricaded himself in the premises," co-author of the bill Alexander Khinshtein explains.
The amendments to the law also propose introducing a norm that a police officer "shall not be prosecuted" for any actions performed while conducting his duties, if the actions are carried out on the grounds and according the order prescribed by regulations.
Sergey Babinets believes that the proposed amendments "untie the hands of the police." The expert emphasizes that, first of all, "the proposed amendments are a preventive measure." "In the conditions of worsening social and economic situation, the people may naturally become discontent which will grow in protests, and it is for such case the government is trying to secure itself with these amendments," he said.