Traveling to Siberia this Christmas – or ever? Well, you might run into a peculiar sight: Officials in the far north of western Siberia have proposed that police use sleighs pulled by reindeers to fight crime. So if you happen to run into a police officer with Santa Claus trappings, don’t be fooled – he’s not baring any gifts.
According to the new measure, police will soon swap their snowmobiles for sleighs pulled by reindeers in order to chase law-breakers into remote, frosty areas. The Interior Ministry in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug is currently considering the proposal.
And don’t worry – there’s a method to the madness.
The idea is that by using reindeers police will be able to easily follow criminals who flee to isolated Arctic villages using the same animals. That’s right – offenders use reindeers as their getaway cars when committing crime.
According to The Siberian Times, a total of 163 crimes were committed in the first nine months of 2014; of these, 127 were committed by people from indigenous ethnic groups in the far north of Russia. Most of the offenses were household crimes perpetrated by people under the influence, including disorderly conduct, fighting, and theft.
“Criminals often hide in the tundra, and other hard to reach places using reindeer and the cops do not always have the opportunity to pursue them there,” a ministry source told Izvestia newspaper.
“The same problem arises with the delivery of the suspects to the police station.”
In spite of all the technology available to countries in this day and age, Siberia’s solution to combat crime reads as a reversion to simpler times.
If the proposal is passed, officers will take offenders handcuffed on sleighs pulled by reindeer back to the police station.
“Of force we have snowmobiles, but we must understand that the equipment is not always reliable,” Interior Ministry spokeswoman Irina Pimkina said.
“A snowmobile can break down or get stuck in the tundra, but the reindeer will keep running. Reindeer would be useful for local police officers to patrol the remote areas. In addition to maintaining order, our police provide assistance to locals and evacuate sick people from the tundra.”
The crime-fighting reindeers will also be taken care of: Each will be fed with 0.5 kg of oats, 1 kg of hay, 1 kg of bread from a mixture of top notch rye and wheat flour, and 6 kg of moss. (And hopefully lots of kindness.)