The head of Russia's top investigation agency has announced the creation of a task force that will investigate crimes committed by police officers.

The move follows a perennial public outcry over cases of killings, beatings, torture and other abuses committed by police throughout the country in recent years. Victims and human rights groups say a police reform launched by President Dmitry Medvedev has achieved little beyond changing the force's name.

Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin signed a decree Wednesday that stipulates creation of a department that will investigate police crimes and report directly to the agency's leadership while maintaining a full independence from local authorities and police.

The Investigative Committee is independent from the Interior Ministry that oversees the police force.