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Although the police in Kiev are no angels, they don’t, unlike their counterparts in Moscow, routinely pester foreigners for documents and bribes.We have never been stopped in the street by the police and very rarely see others being stopped and having their documents checked.Many drivers would argue that this is a better system, particularly those from countries such as the UK where fines are heavy and issued automatically.
Organized crime does exist, but unless you’re coming to Kiev to open a chain of casinos the mafias are extremely unlikely to take an interest in you.
We personally consider it much better to leave our passports in a safe place than to routinely carry it in person and risk losing them. If you have committed an offence they will usually give you the option of going down the official route or paying a bribe and going on your way.
Having said that, official guidance from both the US and British embassies states that visitors should carry their passports with them at all times and keep copies in case of loss or theft. They are notoriously corrupt, though you should only come into contact with them if you are driving. Paying the bribe is cheaper than the official fine and less hassle.
Anybody that has actually visited the city will know that there are far too many real police in such places.
Ukrainian police aren’t perfect but certainly wouldn’t tolerate bogus police operating on their patch.