Chinese police to patrol in Italy in two-week experiment

ROME (Reuters) - Chinese police are joining Italian officers on the streets of Rome and Milan in an experiment aimed at helping tourists from China feel safe, Italy’s interior ministry said on Monday.

The experiment is the first of its kind in Europe, China’s ambassador to Italy, Li Ruiyu, said at a meeting to announce the project, according to a statement from the ministry.

The four Chinese officers, who were trained by Italians in Beijing, will wear the same uniforms they wear at home so their compatriots can recognize them easily.

More than 3 million Chinese tourists come to Italy every year, according to Liao Jinrong, the director general of the Chinese International Cooperation Bureau.

“This service was planned with Chinese tourists in mind, and if it works well we may consider other forms of collaboration, given the presence of the Chinese community in our country,” said Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

The officers will share information with Italian police and help Chinese tourists if they need to contact local authorities and diplomats from Monday until May 13, the ministry said.

Liao, the head of the Chinese International Cooperation Bureau, said the officers’ assignment was a “historic moment”, recalling that the route between China and Italy had been mapped out 700 years ago by Venetian merchant traveler Marco Polo.

Reporting by Isla Binnie