Special ‘Tourist Police’ launched in Nathiagali

PESHAWAR: In a bid to make tourists feel safer while visiting scenic valleys along the Kunhar River, the Abbottabad police have launched a special tourist police and have set up a tourist facilitation centre in the Nathiagali area.

The centre and the police arm would facilitate tourists who are visiting the scenic Nathiagali, Dongagali and Ayubia.

The District Police Officer (DPO) Abbottabad Muhammad Ishfaq told The Express Tribune that they had a created a squad of around 40 policemen and a base station had been established in the Nathiagali area.

“These policemen have been trained by the police department as well as by the tourism department,” DPO Ishfaq said, adding that the facilitation would remain open around the clock.

“They have been trained to handle traffic accidents, theft or any ordinary crime related to tourists,” the officer said.

The 40 cops have been provided with around 20 motorbikes.

Termed as a ‘permanent feature’, the DPO said that the force would operate around the year in the winter and summer tourist seasons.

“We [police] have trained them for 10 days while a training by the tourism department on how to deal with tourists and facilitate them is under process,” Ishfaq said, adding that there was an urgent need for such a service to facilitate the large number of tourists who visit the hill stations.

“This [force’s work] is different from the regular policing. We wanted to make sure that a police force is available to facilitate those visiting the area,” he added. Officers of the tourist police would help tourists in the case of any emergency, criminal incident, for lost items, traffic management at key hotspots, accidents and for guiding tourists.

The provincial government is working on setting up similar tourist facilitation centres at other tourist hotspots such as Swat, Galiyat, Mansehra and Abbottabad in four districts across the province with 40 men in each centre.

By Riaz Ahmad Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2017.

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