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Police getting called names

A RECENT spate of drunk-driving fatalities involving policemen has had some nasty consequences for officers.

Off-duty cops are being branded "murderers" in their local pubs and some landlords are even refusing to serve them alcohol when they come off duty.

"I've spoken to some who live in villages nearby. They are starting not to want to serve them beer, even though they're off-duty. And that's not to mention the ironic taunts of them as murderers and so on," said the head of the transport section at the Prešov regional police force, Juraj Dravecký.

In the space of 11 days in January there were four accidents involving drunk off-duty police officers. Four people died in the crashes, including a 15-month-old boy. Interior Minister Ivan Šimko has promised a crackdown on drinking in the force and ordered the police to start random checks for alcohol on their own officers. But some officers say the problem is confined to a very small number of irresponsible members of the force.

"We should narrow this down to a concrete group. The problem is mainly with police who have been with the force a short time," says Dravecký.

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