Prague - The Prague municipal police have established a special team called "The Royal Mile" for the tourist season.
The team will guard the main tourist vein cutting through the centre of Prague. At every moment from 10am till midnight, at least seven police officers will operate on a section connecting Wenceslas Square with the Prague Castle via Old Town Square and Charles Bridge.
Members of the team will focus on combating street crime, above all pickpockets and money exchange fraudsters who give the gullible tourists, for instance, Bulgarian levas instead of Czech crowns. A more intensive cooperation between the police and the city camera system operators should help as well. As soon as a camera detects a suspect, it will alarm the police and send them the spot.
They speak English, German - and they have water for your dog
As every year, mobile police stations will be installed at key junctions to help tourists in need. They will be available in Old Town Square, in Wenceslas Square, in Vítězné náměstí, at Anděl and in náměstí Kinských.
In each of them, there will be police officers able to tackle any problems tourists may encounter. They offer maps of Prague, first aid, as well as water for thirsty dogs on hot days.
Prague university students help the police officers deal with the tourists. "Every municipal police officer speaks one foreign language, but these students speak two or more," says municipal police director Vladimír Kotrouš.
Besides expanding cooperation with students, the municipal police is planning a new service - longer working hours. The busiest mobile police stations in Old Town Square and in Wenceslas Square will remain open until 1am. The other stations will close at 6-7pm.
Take the 22 to get robbed
The scenario is the same every year. Intrusive beggars near popular Prague monuments, fraudsters who exchange euros and dollars for Bulgarian levas, pretending they are crowns, and pickpockets on the 9 and 22 tram lines.
Municipal police combat this by posting more uniformed officers in public transport vehicles. Forty policemen guard night trams every day. In the metro, buses and trams, they meet state police officers in plain clothes whose task is to merge with the crowd and catch the pickpockets in flagranti.
"It's nice that someone catches them, but what is more important is that the policemen should prevent them from stealing on the spot," Deputy Mayor Rudolf Blažek, in charge of security, says, pointing at the police duplicity.