Ukraine Traffic Police Abolished

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is to disband the country's traffic police because it has proved impossible to stamp out corruption. He has ordered a decree to be drawn up, within one day, abolishing the department, which employs 23,000 people.

Mr Yushchenko said his government's efforts at reforming the traffic police had proved unsuccessful.

Ukraine's traffic police is one of the most corrupt in the world

Traffic police are said to be unpopular with motorists as they impose on the spot fines and often demand bribes.

Mr Yushchenko said the traffic police had "discredited themselves".

He said he had warned senior traffic police officials "three times that if they only keep on hiding in bushes with speed cameras... and do nothing else, they will no longer exist".

Since his inauguration in January, Yushchenko has pledged to crack down on corruption and nepotism and has promised to sever government links to organized crime, which plagued the decade-long tenure of his predecessor. Former president Leonid Kuchma has been accused of using police to intimidate and even kill political opponents. He has denied the accusations.

Over the last 10 years, several criminal groups led by police officers have been charged with crimes ranging from robbery and extortion to murder. Two former police officials were detained in March and charged with the 2000 murder of a leading investigative journalist who crusaded against corruption.

Anti-Swearing Drive

The interior ministry says the new "patrol service" will be up to "top European standards" and will be monitored carefully for bribe-taking.

Mr Yushchenko, who came to power in January after the disputed presidential elections and Orange Revolution, is also trying to stamp out swearing.

Interfax reports that he told law enforcement officials: "Let's agree: you should leave foul language at home.

"Actually, it would be better if you didn't use it at home either. You are servants of the state. Try to talk without swearing. If anyone can't learn to do this, then write a letter of resignation."

Source: BBC News and Others