Europe to have joint police stations for tourists
The joint stations which will be set up at tourist areas aim to provide assistance to tourists who cannot speak the local language.8 July 2008
CANNES - European interior ministers discussed Monday plans to set up temporary joint police stations in tourist areas and at major sporting events.
French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, chairing informal talks in the Riveria resort city of Cannes, said that a pilot station would be set up in Lourdes, "when the pope next visits France" in mid-September.
Her Italian counterpart, Roberto Maroni, said that Franco-Italian stations would be in place as soon as August in French cities most visited by Italians; Paris, Versailles and Nice.
The stations "would allow, when an EU member state is a nation that hosts many tourists from another country, for citizens of that country to have access to police from their home and who speak their language," she told reporters.
They could be set up for three months, for example, around tourist seasons or one month for a large sporting event, like the recent Euro 2008 football championship.
"As you know, we have excellent beer in the Czech Republic," said Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer.
"So if you drink quite a lot and, if you're French, I can imagine that it is pleasant to meet a policeman who speaks your language and who will assist you and will take you to your hotel without any problems," he said.
His Spanish counterpart Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba also backed the idea, saying it was important for visitors to "have the possibility of using their own language to resolve a problem".
Alliot-Marie said the ministers also discussed exchange training programmes for police, which would involve officers spending time with their neighbours to better share policing techniques and best practices.
[AFP / Expatica]