China / China

Chinese police officers go on patrol in Italy

By Zhang Yan (China Daily Europe) Updated: 2017-04-30 14:26

They're on the beat in tourist spots to give assistance to visiting countrymen

Eight Chinese police officers will go on patrol in Italy in early June to help their Italian counterparts protect Chinese tourists, a senior police official said on April 24.

The officers, selected nationwide and proficient in Italian, will patrol scenic spots in Rome, Milan, Florence and Naples to help deter crimes against Chinese tourists, says Liao Jinrong, director of the Ministry of Public Security's International Cooperation Bureau.

The patrol duties will last for two weeks or possibly longer, depending on the needs, Liao says. The Chinese officers will not be armed, and they have no law enforcement authority on these patrols, he says.

 Chinese police officers go on patrol in Italy

The first joint patrol of Chinese and Italian police officers in Rome, Italy, on May 2, 2016. Jin Yu / Xinhua


China may also send police officers to Austria and Spain later this year to help ensure Chinese tourists are safe and to aid communication, Liao says.

"Joint police patrols are an effective means of expanding mutual trust and giving tourists a stronger sense of security," he says. "They can also help us better understand each other's legal systems and police procedures."

China and Italy signed a memorandum of understanding on joint police patrols in September 2015, the first such agreement between China and a European country. The first group of four Chinese police officers patrolled in Rome and Milan from May 2 to 13 last year.

Four Italian police officers began patrolling in Beijing and Shanghai on April 24 and will continue until May 7.

They are not allowed to carry weapons but can offer advice and help handle cases in Italian tourist areas, according to China's Ministry of Public Security.

Ettore Francesco Sequi, Italian ambassador to China, said on April 24 that Italy has supported and praised the joint patrols, which will "play a significant role in promoting bilateral safety cooperation and fighting cross-border crime".

Pang Bo, a Chinese policeman who patrolled in Italy last year, says two Chinese police officers wearing Chinese uniforms patrolled with two Italian officers, usually from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

They were generally deployed in tourists sites, railway stations or other places where Chinese people might gather. Their main task was to answer Chinese tourists' questions and help them communicate with Italian officers, Pang told Chinese media last year.

Gao Yunbin, a Ministry of Public Security media officer, says Chinese officers would "rush to the scene to assist their foreign counterparts" in cases involving Chinese tourists.

As the number of Chinese tourists in Europe has grown in recent years, so have the crimes against them.

Liu Jianming of the China National Tourism Administration says that more than 800,000 Chinese and Italian tourists visited each other's nations in 2016.

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