St Petersburg to Introduce Tourist Police for 2018 World Cup

Photo: TASS / Vladimir Gerdo

St. Petersburg authorities are planning to create tourist police – a special detachment to ensure the safety of visitors in the Northern capital. The new format of tourist’s safety precautions can be launched as early as  2017, by the beginning of the Confederation Cup, the Committee for Tourism Development of St Petersburg told TASS journalists.

“We are planning to do a special program for the World Cup. It involves creation of the tourist police to patrol tourist areas,”  said Head of Committee Andrei Mushkarev.

“The project is still under development, “ he said. “We discussed it at a business meeting with the law enforcement senior officials and have now sent a letter with the above proposal to the Chief of Ministry of Internal Affairs of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast. Further progress depends on resources of Ministry of Internal Affairs.”

Mushkarev went on to add that they considered the experience of Moscow, while creating a project outline, where such a detachment employs about 160 people. “We believe that having the same number of police officers in St. Petersburg makes sense,” he said.

The city, he noted, is ready to assist the police in training for new duties – primarily in learning  foreign languages, as well as ensure the assistance of the municipal tourist information offices. “Tourists were facing many communication issues during the World Hockey Championship, “ said Mushkarev. “This problem should be resolved before the World Cup starts. ”

The introduction of tourist police should build up confidence about safety and comfort of city visitors to the city, the St Petersburg authorities think. “The number of tourists visiting our city exceeds the number of inhabitants, so this demands attention,” said Head of the Committee. In the 2016 season, according to Mushkarev, the city will be able to improve last year’s record – 6,5 million Russian and foreign tourists. “However,  the influx of tourists cannot grow endlessly, therefore of great importance are structural changes, new groups of visitors, like tourists from  Iran, whose number has doubled this year,” said Mushkarev.  “Our mission now is the extension of the season so that the city can welcome tourists all year round.”