The number of interior troops of Russia's Interior Ministry will be cut back, Russia's Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said at a meeting of the military council of interior troops on Friday, according to the ministry's press-service. He explained that was one of the main directions of reforming the interior troops. The minister also said that next year the ministry was to take a number of steps "to improve the command and control system of the troops and reinforce their personnel potential," and also to bring the legal framework regulating the activity of the troops in line with the existing legislation. Gryzlov noted that 2001 defined "a strategy for the further development of Russia's law enforcement system as a whole, including its interior troops". He emphasised that interior troops do their service in complex conditions but, despite this, must effectively react to any manifestation of aggression and extremism. The minister described the outgoing year as a "year of the start of reforms in the Interior Ministry whose main aim is to regain the citizens' lost confidence in the police, and restore its prestige in the population's eyes". Commenting on the situation in the North Caucasus, Gryzlov recalled that the situation in the Chechen Republic throughout the year had deteriorated many times. "And as recent developments have shown, a system of guaranteed protection for large populated communities against militants has not yet been created by us," the minister emphasised. "A guarantor of absolute protection against terrorism may be only a clear understanding of the scale of this threat and effective countering of it," Gryzlov added.