How Tourism Policing Differs From Other Forms of Policing

How Tourism Policing Differs From Other Forms of Policing

Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7579-5.ch002


Chapter 2 examines some of the ways that distinguish tourism policing and security services from other forms of policing and security. Tourism policing, at times called tourism-oriented policing and protection services (TOPPs) is a relatively recent sub-section of both private security and public policing. We use the term “policing” throughout the book to refer both to private professional security agents and to public law enforcement agents. Tourism policing recognizes that the visitor has different protection needs than do people who are in the general public or at their place of residence.
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The field recognizes, just as in other forms of security, that there is no such thing as total security. There will always be threats, and tourism security will need to be constantly changing to meet these new threats. TOPPS officers, just like other security professionals, can lessen the chance of danger of injury or death, but no matter what they do or how professional they are, there will always be some form of risk.

Tourism Policing and Security combines the best of both customer services with risk management. Its goal is to prevent negative incidents from harming the travel and tourism industry and at the same time providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere to a community or business’ guests. As such tourism policing has four major roles:

  • It provides protection for the visitor and thus protection of the economy.

  • It provides needed services and attempts to create a positive image of the community or business.

  • It provides proper standards of behavior that spill over into both the employees’ and the officer's relationship with his/her family, friends and colleagues.

  • It provides a chance to understand people from other lands and cultures and also helps people from different locales to understand each other and their needs. As such it hopes to make the world a safer and more peaceful place.

TOPPs officers must understand their parameters in order to create an effective tourism security force, whether from law enforcement or from the private sector. Tourism security officers must know the answers to such questions as:

  • What constitutes the tourism industry in my location?

  • How do these components interact with each other?

  • What are the community’s security weak points?

  • How does tourism fit into my community’s overall economic plan?

  • What is the economic impact of tourism on my community?

  • How does my local tourism industry impact my community’s economic and social life?

  • How does the tourism industry work in my community?

  • What is the state of a community’s tourism? What are the essential pieces of data that an officer needs to know so as to do his or her job well?

It is essential that the tourism police or security officer never forget that: Visitors do not know about inter-agency or departmental discussions or disagreements. The visitor only knows what he or she sees as the final product.


Why Visitors Differ From Locals

It is never easy to be in a strange environment. Visitors are in a locale that is not their place of residence, and as such, lack many of the basics support systems that residents might have. For example, visitors may not have a local banker, may know any or just a few, residents, may be unfamiliar with the local language, customs, or laws.

Visitors may not know where and when to locate essential services and may have limited or no knowledge regarding medical services. We call this sense of being “disconnected” from the local society: “tourism anomy.” It is a state of “norm-less-ness,” or a feeling of being socially or culturally lost or simply not knowing how to handle a simple problem in a locale that Is outside of a person’s known zone of residence or comfort zone. To be anomic is to be disconnected from the society in which a person finds him or herself.

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