Plainclothes police to dress as Santa during New Year’s celebrations in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Cihan PhotoUndercover Turkish police officers will step up their presence for Istanbul’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, as thousands of officers are set to stand guard dressed up as Santa Claus.
Some 5,000 police officers will be on duty in Istanbul’s touristic İstiklal Avenue and Taksim Square in central Beyoğlu, a popular district for the city’s party-goers. The officers will disguise themselves by dressing up as Santa Claus, shoe shiners and street vendors among the crowds of people gathered on the streets to celebrate.
The branch head of Istanbul’s plainclothes police unit took part in a press briefing in Taksim Square with his deputy head and a number of officers who will be on duty on the night of Dec. 31, explaining police teams will be on patrol in a number of central districts.
“Those inclined to commit crimes notice policemen but they are unaware of undercover officers. In fact, we get to notice them,” branch deputy head Zafer Baybaba told reporters.
Baybaba added İstiklal Avenue and the surrounding streets will be monitored with city surveillance cameras, outside broadcast vehicles and pedestrian crossing cameras. Security personnel will be dispatched to areas where any anomaly is noticed.
According to official numbers, some 15,000 plainclothes officers will be on duty across Istanbul on Dec. 31. Around 5,000 will be stationed in Beyoğlu while another thousand will stand guard on İstiklal Avenue.
New Year’s Eve celebrations in Taksim Square have become notorious for crowds of men sexually harassing women and tourists who choose the popular destination to celebrate the arrival of the new year.