Service reindeer for police in Russia’s Arctic

Police in one of Russia's Arctic regions think it will be easier to police the region with reindeer teams than with snowmobiles. (iStock)
Police in one of Russia’s Arctic regions think it will be easier to police the region with reindeer teams than with snowmobiles. (iStock)
Russian authorities are considering establishing a ‘reindeer police force’ to help combat crime in the Yamalo-Nenets tundra region.

Police in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug have complained that most of the crimes in the region are being committed by people who hide from the police on the tundra and other out-of-the-way places by reindeer sledges. In order to pursue and transport criminals and quickly respond to crime, the police want to have reindeer in their own “garage”.

The issue of service reindeer came up a few days ago, after the last crime data from the region were published.  Most cases are domestic crimes executed in condition of alcoholic inebriation such as hooliganism, fights, and thefts.

“Of course, we have snowmobiles in service, but one should understand that machinery is machinery. A snowmobile can break down or get stuck in the tundra while reindeer will run all the time,” a police representative told Izvestia. “The reindeer could be useful for district police officers to get around in remote areas.”

Local police also provide different assistance to citizens and transport sick persons from the tundra.

The possibility to purchase service reindeers was included in police legislation in 2012. According to a ministerial order, service reindeer must daily be provided with 1 kilo of bread made of rye and wheat and 6 kilos of reindeer moss (lichen).

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  PInclude communities in crime prevention, says Arctic Canadian politician, CBC News

IcelandIceland has first fatal police shooting, The Associated Press

Sweden:  Reports of violent crime increasing in Sweden’s North, Radio Sweden

United States:  Bill to improve village safety not enough says Alaska tribal judge, Alaska Public Radio Network


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