By Lucie Robson
While I was impressed by the news that the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) had decided to introduce police bicycle patrols on beaches this summer in order to protect bathers, I was also alarmed.
Protect bathers against what?
I’m a regular at local beaches, visiting at different times of day, depending on my schedule.
I tend to walk or take the bus, so cannot lock items up in a car. The only concern I have is leaving my valuables on the beach while I’m swimming. For me, ‘valuables at the beach’ means my phone (to keep an eye on the time) and a little bit of cash in a purse (to pay for seaside paraphernalia like umbrellas and frappés).
Touch wood, I’ve never had these nicked while swimming. I just bury them under my towel and hope that there are no sticky fingers around. So far, there haven’t been.
So, when I read about this vamping up of beach security I was bemused. While of course one has always got to be careful about what they leave lying around in public, I am not aware of any concerning rise in beach thefts. Neither am I aware of any worrying increase in harassment or violations, other issues for which the CTO says the police cycle patrols are being put in place.
I was left wondering if I was missing something.
The tourist body is implementing this policing initiative in response to a significant rise in tourist numbers this year. I guess there is no harm in having a law enforcement presence to create a feeling of safety amongst visitors who may not know how secure Cyprus generally is.
But there is one simple way that would not only create a feeling of security but an actuality: have beach safe boxes available for hire where visitors can leave their belongings.
I know I, for one, would feel more comfortable and confident swimming if I knew my bits and bobs were safely locked up.
Peyia, for instance, has just introduced this facility. I’ve never understood why it hasn’t been widely available before.
There is one violation, though, police patrols do need to get tough on: dogs on beaches.
I love dogs, but don’t want to wake up from sunbathing to find a leadless German Shepherd hanging over me (happened once). Neither do I want to step in their dirt (happened more than once).