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Russia: Rewards for Assisting Police

(Oct. 3, 2012) On August 23, 2012, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (police) of the Russian Federation published on its website draft Rules on Incentives and Payments to Individuals for Assistance in Investigating Crimes and Apprehending Criminals. This document will enter into force after it is approved by the federal government. The system of official monetary rewards to individuals for providing assistance to the police is new in modern Russia, although during the Soviet period voluntary police informers received some informal perks and privileges. The Law on Police, which was passed in 2011, allows Russian police authorities to decide on payments of rewards to citizens if they provide information that leads to resolving a case and catching the criminal. (Press Release, No. 02/112, Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs, Citizens Who Assist Police to Solve Crimes Will Be Rewarded [in Russian] (Aug. 23, 2012).)

The Rules establish the mechanism for such payments. It is expected that payments will be offered for information on important cases that have caught public attention or on crimes that are “extremely dangerous for public safety or have severe consequences.” (Citizens Will Be Paid for Assisting Police [in Russian], GAZETA.RU (Aug. 23, 2012).) Information must be submitted to an investigator in written form and may be provided in person or via electronic or regular mail. Police officers and other law enforcement personnel cannot claim rewards. Depending on the amount of the payment, the decision to issue a reward will be made by the Minister of Internal Affairs, who is the de-facto national police chief; one of his deputies; or the head of a regional police department. (Id.)

The Rules do not establish a maximum reward amount; however, a decision to pay more than the equivalent of US$100,000 must be made by the Minister of the Interior. Money for the rewards will be transferred from the funds appropriated for the federal Ministry of Internal Affairs. The announcement on the offering of a reward will be effective for two months from its first publication in the mass media or until the criminal in question is caught, whichever comes first. (Citizens Who Assist Police to Solve Crimes Will Be Rewarded, supra.)