Reindeer Police – Coming to Yamal?

November 18, 2014 • Philip BurgessBlog, Reindeer

олениRT and Isvestia were reporting yesterday that the police authorities in the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug were considering using reindeer for assisting them in their police work. Trying to keep a straight face here in the Reindeer Portal, we read,

The idea of purchasing livestock reindeer is currently being discussed within the Ministry of Internal Affairs as a potentially effective measure to curb the crime rate, a source told Izvestia newspaper.

“At the meetings it was noted that the criminals often hide in the tundra and other hard to reach places using reindeer sleds, where the police do not always have a chance to pursue them. The same problem arises with the delivery of the suspects to police stations,” the source told the publication.

Though the local police force in the Yamalo-Nenets region is equipped with snowmobiles, reindeer have proven to be more reliable under the harsh weather conditions, Interior Ministry spokeswoman for the region, Irina Pimkina, told Izvestia.

“Of course we have snowmobiles in service, but one should understand that a machine is a machine. A snowmobile can break down or get stuck in the tundra, but the deer will run at all times. Deer would be useful for the district police officers to go around the remote areas. In addition to policing, our officers provide various assistance to locals such as transporting patients out of the tundra.”


The articles closed with reference to the other place where police reindeer are already in use: Finland. This is a stretch, though. There was one ‘police reindeer’ who was employed in 2010 in Rovaniemi to highlight traffic safety during the christmas season. Sadly the following year, she (her name was Maija) was hit by a car (!) in Kittila. Her son ‘Arturi’ was employed the following year in 2011. Not sure if he will be seen again this Christmas – we’ll keep you posted.

Reindeer Police in Rovaniemi