Cops to patrol in sheep's clothing

  • 2008-01-23
  • By Adam Krowka

CUNNING COPS: Police hope new, unmarked cars will help them catch speeders and encourage other drivers to act responsibly.

TALLINN - Estonia's Eastern Police Prefecture has announced that four new, unmarked police cars will soon be patrolling the roads throughout East and West Viru counties this year. The vehicles will complement existing patrols, however they will have the advantage of disguise when targeting speeders.
The Narva, Johvi and Rakvere police departments will each add one of the unmarked vehicles to its crime-fighting arsenal while the fourth will roam throughout the prefecture and remain under central control. Multiple cars will be coordinated for larger operations outside of their particular zones.
Earlier it was only possible to coordinate initiatives around a single unmarked car.

"From now on we can for example use three non-marked police cars instead of one during police operations in the department territory," Kristina Kostina, spokeswoman for the East Prefecture, told The Baltic Times in an e-mail.
"This same practice is already in use by other police prefectures," she wrote.
The indistinctively decorated cars are meant to counter the common habit of drivers slowing around visible speed traps but speeding off when they aren't being watched.
Under the cloak of civilian colors, the new cars will contain normal police traffic radar, connections to e-police databases, lights and sirens.
Police officials are also counting on the psychological impact of drivers knowing that the unmarked cars are now on patrol.

"When you know there is a possibility that this car could be on every corner, it makes certain that people will think and be more disciplined," Johvi Head Constable Heiki Lindus was quoted by the spokeswoman as saying.
According to Kostina, three persons have already been killed this year in traffic accidents. Two of these died in a single incident on the Tallinn-Narva road in East Viru County.
"I want to emphasize that traffic accidents last year occurred primarily due to poorly chosen speed. Currently the weather is fickle, and at times the roads are wet, slippery and snowy," said the Chief Commissioner of the Eastern Prefecture Veiko Jarva.

Statistics released by the Estonian Roads Administration recorded that 196 people were killed in Estonia last year due to traffic incidents, down from 204 in 2006. The number of people injured in accidents also dropped by nearly 200, down to 3,239 in 2007. Both statistics however show that Estonia is still among the worst countries in Europe for per-capita road deaths and injuries.