Bilingual tourist police to protect Paris visitors

Armed police on road as traffic passes
Armed police in Paris keep watch on traffic

New brigade will be based in hotspots to prevent crime and improve security

A special police tourist brigade is to be set up to protect the 29million tourists visiting Paris each year.

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The brigade touristique will be part of a move to improve security after the terror attacks that saw visitor numbers fall 1.5m - at an estimated cost of €1.5billion in spending last year - but also to reduce petty theft and serious attacks, like that which targeted TV celebrity Kim Kardashian.

It will also improve the city’s image which has been tarnished by targeting of tourists by pickpockets.

The Interior Ministry will host a tourism and security meeting tomorrow at which the measure will be revealed, according to Les Echos.

Based in the main tourist hotspots, officers in the brigade touristique will be able to speak several languages, be mobile and be able to speed up procedures by taking complaints directly as well as arresting offenders.

Both the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry are working on a ‘Safety Site’ logo for businesses and tourist sites that meet security obligations. Sites such as the Disneyland Paris and Versailles could be the first to benefit, then the grands magasins on Boulevard Haussmann and the Louvre.

Paris already has 20 police offices that are open to the public 24/7 to help with tourist-related crime but the new move will be a step forward.

Software also helps by having complaint forms available in 16 languages so officers can act quickly on complaints.

Physical changes are also planned in some sites to better protect them. The main street in Claude Monet’s Giverny, in Normandy, will have chicanes fitted to obstruct vehicles. The street is long and straight and the move follows the terror attack on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

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