The Federal Law was passed following broad public discussion, during which people sent in more than 33,000 comments and specific proposals on improving the draft law’s text. Amendments or additions were made to many of the draft law’s provisions as a result.
The law contains an exhaustive list of the police force’s rights and obligations, based on its function as an institution, the purpose of which is to uphold the law, protect lives, health and personal rights and freedoms, fight crime, and maintain public order. The police have a duty to help citizens in all cases of need. Police officers must protect not only people who are victims of unlawful acts, but also accident victims, and people who for whatever reasons are in a helpless situation or in circumstances threatening their life and health.
The law sets out a number of ethical and moral requirements for police officers. In particular, police officers at all times, including when off duty, must refrain from any action that could damage the police force’s reputation. The police force’s operation is based above all on the principle of respect for human rights and freedoms. Unlawful orders from superiors or any other circumstances cannot justify police officers’ action (inaction). Police officers must listen attentively to any person who comes to them, and act within their powers to resolve the problem at hand. In any dealings with members of the public police officers must name their position, rank, and last name, and present their police ID upon request. In cases when police officers take coercive measures against members of the public they must explain the reasons for their action and inform the persons concerned of their rights and obligations. People detained by the police have the right to make a telephone call to their relatives or friends.
The federal Law sets the specific provisions regarding police powers to use physical force and firearms.
Police officers are obliged to register complaints and statements regarding crimes, administrative offences, and incidents filed by individuals, and inform them at least once a month on the state of progress in their examination.
Police officers have the right to enter premises and land owned by individuals or entities in order to save lives and property, ensure security during mass public unrest and emergency situations, detain people suspected of committing crimes, prevent crimes from being committed, and establish the circumstances of accidents. Police officers can visit state and municipal bodies, public associations and organisations only in connection with criminal investigations and cases of administrative infringements under investigation, or to verify registered complaints and statements about crimes, infringements, and incidents.
The police force’s activities must be open for the public, and police officers’ actions must be justified and clear. The law requires the police to keep the public regularly informed on its work through the mass media, the internet, and through reports to the legislative (representative) bodies of the Russian Federation constituent entities, municipal authorities, and the public. Public opinion is one of the main criteria for assessing the police force’s performance, and public control over the police force is one of the main guarantees that the police will carry out their duties lawfully and conscientiously.
The Federal Law was drafted in compliance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation.