Russian President Vladimir Putin has told top police officials that Russians will support the police even when they use repressive measures, if the actions are made in society's interests.

At the same time, he said, police should avoid being arrogant with people in their daily work.

At a Tuesday meeting with the top brass of the Interior Ministry, Putin said: "Even when employees of the internal affairs use, frankly, repressive measures of the state against those who break the law but people see that that this is done in the interests of society, it will get the people's support."

But if police are arrogant or disrespectful, "it is perceived as a betrayal of the common people," Russian news agencies quoted him as saying.