Russia Will Use Tourist Police for World Cup

Russia Will Use Tourist Police for World CupRussia Will Use Tourist Police for World Cup

Russia is to implement ‘tourist police’ force for the upcoming World Cup event which was launched on Monday by Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

The impending deluge of tourists for the World Cup is a mixed blessing for provincial host cities unused to visitors from abroad, the AFP reported.

Gleeful restaurant and hotel owners are rubbing their hands in anticipation of an once-in-a-lifetime business boom.

But the security services are worried about fans from the 32 rival nations getting along and feeling safe during the June 14-July 15 football finals.

This is an especially big problem in a country where basic knowledge of English is still spotty outside Moscow and Vladimir Putin’s native Saint Petersburg.

“These units will be comprised of territorial interior ministry officers who know foreign languages,” police spokeswoman Irina Volk said on Monday. “If necessary, the personnel will undergo additional training.”

It remains unclear how much of the existing police force across the 11 host cities has foreign language proficiency.

Volk said the tourist police would be omnipresent around stadiums and fan zones in all 11 host cities by May 25.

Moscow has had a tourist police force patrolling the most popular spots around the Kremlin for the past four years.

First-time visitors to Russia had previously been startled to discover almost no English signage on the streets.

But the Moscow metro -the bustling lifeline of one of Europe’s biggest cities- introduced English station names for last year’s Confederations Cup.

It now intends to identify which ticket vendors speak English with colorful stickers on their booths.

The subway system is also putting up directions pointing fans to stadiums and where to go once they get there.

Other cities are slowly playing catch-up by introducing English announcements on busses and trams.

But nearly all street signs still only appear in Russian and there will be no time to change that for the World Cup.

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