More criminal acts committed by police officers are being investigated

The number of crimes uncovered involving police officers has grown by nearly a half as compared to the first six months of 1999. The Interior Ministry has a special department devoted to investigating police crime, and so far this year, it has brought 181 Czech police officers to court, suspected of no less than 285 criminal offences. Alena Skodova has the details:

The department's director, Mikulas Tomin told journalists on Thursday that it was quite a problem revealing crimes committed by police officers because they are well aware of the whole process of investigation and know the police environment well. "This is a highly dangerous social phenomenon, because those who should be keeping order break the law themselves," Tomin noted. He added that by the end of the year, the number of investigated cases is likely to be much higher - almost every day a policeman is charged with committing a crime. The most frequent cases involve the abuse of power, fraud, and the production and trafficking of drugs. The ministry has set up a team specializing in detecting car theft and car insurance fraud, two of the most frequently reported crimes among officers.

Police officers also steal, receive bribes, embezzle money, and on occasions have even faced charges of hooliganism. From the total number of crimes, 179 were committed on duty. 100 offenders belonged to the regular police, but there have also been numerous cases in the transport and foreign police. The crime rate also differs from region to region: the highest figures can be seen in the capital, Prague, second is North Moravia and third North Bohemia, the three most densely populated areas of the country. If you want to find a trustworthy policeman, then statistics show that you're probably best off going to Central Bohemia - provided, that is, that you avoid Prague. And as far as age is concerned, the biggest offenders are officers between 25 and 30 years of age.