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Tourist Police's Role In Ensuring The Success Of Vmy 2014
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Susan Robert, a teacher from Calgary, Canada was in Kuala Lumpur recently for a holiday with her family.
After finishing her breakfast at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur (KL), where she had been staying for a week, with a map in her hand Susan started walking towards Times Square located not far from her hotel.
While she was looking for a place to shop, she noticed a police beat nearby with several friendly policemen and she immediately knew they were the Tourist Police that she first got to know at the Tourism Ministry's website.
Tourist police play an important role in not only ensuring the safety of the visitors and but also in making their visit to Malaysia a memorable one.
Susan, 52, and her family will represent the 28 million visitors expected in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY 2014).
Susan when met by Bernama expressed her appreciation over the wonderful Malaysian hospitality and security provided to visitors.
And therefore, Malaysia is naturally the choice destination for her family.
Susan too is captivated by of the local customs and the culture in Malaysia, her second destination after Singapore.
"I decided to visit here after I got the information about Malaysia through the Internet. Then, I thought that Malaysia is a safe country to visit. My friends who had visited Malaysia before also suggested to me to come here.
"During my stay here, I felt safe and admire the fact that Malaysians were polite, friendly and always helpful in giving direction when needed, especially the police," noted Susan.
THE DESTINATION IN CONTINUING STUDIES
As for Ismeth Ahmad, 23, from Damascus, Syria, Malaysia is the safest Muslim nation and this is what prompted him to come here to earn a degree in mechanical engineering at SEGI College.
He is now putting up in Bangsar with several of his countrymen and for the last one year he never went through any unpleasant incident.
"However, one of my friends ended up a pick pocket victim but the problem was solved after we lodged a police report and the suspect was nabbed," said Ismeth.
THE ROLE OF TOURIST POLICE
According to the head of the Kuala Lumpur Tourist Police Unit ASP Roslee Omar, the unit was established in 1998 in an effort to make the tourism sector as an income generator for the nation.
"Initially the unit recruited those who knew foreign languages and with a pleasant personality," he said to Bernama when met recently.
Roslee, 49, who hails from Bukit Mertajam, Penang said now the unit is opened to police personnel from any branch.
The role of the unit was further strengthened with the establishment of the International Relations Unit (ILU) that also dealt with crimes involving foreign diplomats, trade officials and tourists.
"ILU was established in October 2013, in line with the goal of making the Kuala Lumpur Police Contingent a world class police force," he said.
He added that, since then the tourists police have limited their role in engaging directly with the visitors on tourism related matters as Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) Tourist Police had taken over that role.
"However, the officers from the police unit still carry brochures and tourist maps on the interesting locations within the city to guide the tourists when requested," he said.
TOURIST POLICE IN FOUR STATES
In so far, the tourist police unit has been established in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Selangor and Johor.
In Kuala Lumpur, he said, the unit is made up of 96 personnel and two officers and they work in shifts 24/7.
Roslee noted that they were stationed at mobile stations, police beats (at Times Square and Bukit Bintang) and at Matic Jalan Ampang that serves as the centre for receiving reports from tourists.
Each personnel have to patrol 20 metres from where they are stationed.
Elaborating further, Roslee said the tourist police also listen to the visitors' grouses and accept their reports before trying to settle the problems.
"As for example if the visitor loses the identification document due to the work of a pick pocket, their police report will be forwarded to their respective missions for immediate action," he said.
As the tourist sector is expected to contribute income up to RM68 billion annually, Roslee provided assurance that his side would do all the best in not only helping any tourists in distress but also in making sure they do not fall victims to crime.
"We have regular meetings with tour agencies, hotels, airlines, buses and taxis to convey the feedback from tourists and how their safety can be enhanced.
"We have also received feedback from the KL Hop On Hop Off bus dedicated for tourists, that a policemen should be assigned to watch tourist getting down from the bus as this would provide greater sense of security for the visitors," he said.
Asked on the crime involving tourists, Roslee said most fell victims to pick pockets, snatch thefts and mugging. Also some lose their valuables in the hotels they put up.
Often the victims are visitors who come on their own and not in groups. When they are in a group, the risk of ending up as a victim is very much lower.
Apart from that, Roslee said rouge taxi drivers who fleece tourists were also a common problem.
"In this case, we will inform the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) for further action," he said.
Through strategies and hard work, the unit has managed to address crime involving tourists and enhance their safety. And accolades have come pouring in.
Rosli pointed out in 2012 the Sri Lanka authorities congratulated the Malaysia government after the foreigners who robbed a Sri Lankan judge was caught.
Meanwhile, Roslee who has been heading the unit for the last three years said in preventing snatch thefts in busy streets within the Golden Triangle, the unit and DBKL were planning to introduce a schedule where motorcycles and other vehicles could only use the roads on certain times.
news coverage in our Newswire service.
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