Municipal police take to ATVs in Old Town patrols ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Mupo personnel on ATVs in Tallinn's Old Town.
Mupo personnel on ATVs in Tallinn's Old Town. Source: ERR

Tallinn municipal police (Mupo) are patrolling the city's Old Town using All Terrain Vehicles, through the summer.

The ATVs, which are also being used at beaches, patrol in areas not easily accessible by regular vehicles or, according to Mupo head Aivar Toompere, on foot.

The ATVs will come in handy: "Additionally, when large cruise ships dock in Tallinn, bringing tourists, many of whom stay in the old town and require a lot of information," Toompere added, speaking on current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Monday evening.

The ATVs seem to have been a hit with tourists, who often ask to have their photo taken with the vehicles and their riders, Mupo says.

"Many are coming both to take pictures, and to ask for advice. In fact, it seems these ATVs aren't so common in Europe. We are here more or less for the first time," noted senior chief inspector Deniss Burašnikov.

The Mupo ATV operatives will otherwise be confined to checking bicycle taxi rickshaw drivers, or street musicians, comply with regulations, dealing with drunks, and informing the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) about more serious infringements.

Previous interior minister Katri Raik (SDE) had looked at extending Mupo's powers, and those of other municipal police forces in the country, to include the use of physical force, though this met with criticism.

The auxiliary police force's other most well-known role is in booking those riding Tallinn public transport for free, when they do not have the right to do so. This can include Tallinn resident's who are elligible for free transport but do not have their transport card on their person. The force had somewhat of a makeover and new vehicles in recent times and its uniforms now resemble those of PPA officers more closely.

"Unfortunately, yes, our hands are a bit tied," added Toompere.

"Even though they're [drivers entering Old Town streets forbidden to them] driving in a pedestrianized zone, we can't fine them. If you are a smart driver and catch on to this, then you will make yourself scarce, but if you do not, then we will contact the PPA who can then attend the scene and fine them," Toompere added.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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