Facebook used to expose slackened policemen

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Facebook used to expose slackened policemen
Fed up with ineffective law enforcement, thousands of Bulgarians have flocked to a Facebook page showcasing images of police breaking rules or failing to do their duty.

The "Photograph a Policeman" group includes pictures of badly parked patrol cars, including one in a disabled spot and another on a pedestrian crossing, and a police motorcyclist pulling a "wheelie" - on the wrong side of the road.

In another image, a uniformed policeman holds an open bottle of beer while sitting at the wheel of a patrol car.

It highlights frustration among many Bulgarians with a justice system that is subject to special monitoring by the European Union and a country where corruption and organised crime remain major problems five years after joining the bloc.

Created only this week, the group already has nearly 6,500 followers, including several well-known local politicians, journalists and businessmen.

It started after Boyan Maximov, from the Black Sea city of Varna, took a picture of three policemen apparently asleep in a patrol car and posted it on social networks.

Police then questioned Maximov, who complained of harrassment and fines for petty offences like taking the rubbish out without an ID card, which under Bulgarian law must be carried in public at all times.

Last week police spokeswoman Kalinka Pencheva called Maximov "a red neck idiot, who has nothing to do and is bored" on local channel bTV. Pencheva has since been sacked but the Facebook page - and the number of pictures - continues to grow.

The interior ministry said it was aware of the page and most of the pictures were old.

"The Interior Ministry's inspectorate obtained information about the creation of this group and is checking the photos and the comments that have been published," a spokeswoman said.  Facebook used to expose slackened policemen.

© Thomson Reuters 2012

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