Service reindeer for police in Russia's Arctic

Police in Russia's Yamalo-Nenets region can get reindeer in service.

Russian authorities are considering establishing a ‘reindeer police force’ to help combat crime in the Yamalo-Nenets tundra region.


Police in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug have complained that most of the crimes in the region are being committed by people who hide from the police on the tundra and other out-of-the-way places by reindeer sledges. In order to pursue and transport criminals and quickly respond to crime, the police want to have reindeer in their own “garage”.

The issue of service reindeer came up a few days ago, after the last crime data from the region were published. Of the 163 registered crimes in the first nine months of 2014, 127 were committed by natives. Most cases are domestic crimes executed in condition of alcoholic inebriation such as hooliganism, fights, and thefts.

“Of course, we have snowmobiles in service, but one should understand that machinery is machinery. A snowmobile can break down or get stuck in the tundra while reindeer will run all the time,” a police representative told Izvestia. “The reindeer could be useful for district police officers to get around in remote areas.”

Snowmobiles are essential in police work on teh tundra.

Local police also provide different assistance to citizens and transport sick persons from the tundra.  

The possibility to purchase service reindeers was included in police legislation in 2012. According to a ministerial order, service reindeer must daily be provided with 1 kilo of bread made of rye and wheat and 6 kilos of reindeer moss (lichen).