Belize City, Tuesday, August 26, 2003The Tourism Police Unit continues to strategically strengthen its presence in key tourist destinations. Today a total of 16 new recruits has been added to the unit.

The latest members of the TPU include 13 males and three females who will enable the force to have an unprecedented presence in the Punta Gorda area, further complementing the existing operations in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Belize City, Dangriga and Placencia.

The initiates have completed a two-week orientation process with the Police Academy and are currently undergoing applied field training. Thereafter, they will undertake full police instruction via a supplementary five-month training program.

The Tourism Police Unit has been serving the country since 1995 as a specialized branch of the police force with the primary task of protecting Belize’s valued visitors.

Additionally, to better serve our tourist population, in collaboration with the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History, the TPU has initiated the Mounted Tourism Police Patrols at the Xunantunich archaeological site. The project, which is in its developmental stages, essentially entails having the officers patrol the area with the aid of horses.

Tourism Minister Mark Espat comments, “Issues of security and safety are fundamental to the development of any nation, and as such we strive to keep both our resident and visiting population as safe as is within our capacity and means.” Minister Espat continues, “We aim to maintain this goal as an actuality as opposed to just theory. With this in mind, we are committed to increasing the presence of the tourism police and such related initiatives as the industry continues to expand.”