Some 386 “night watchmen” started patrolling the streets of Istanbul from late Aug. 13, which state-run Anadolu Agency described as a bid to “enhance safety in the city.”
The night watchmen, assigned to various neighborhoods of the city, will be on duty from sunset to sunrise six days a week, on an average of eight-hour shifts per day. The watchmen are at first being accompanied by police officers but they will later be assigned in pairs in every neighborhood they are assigned to.
The Istanbul Security General Directorate has initially appointed 386 watchmen, but 314 more are expected to be deployed in the coming period.
The national police said a total of 8,320 people had applied for this position after Feb. 8, out of which 700 were chosen. The selected candidates were then given theoretical and applied training by special operations police officers and taught techniques on how to use a weapon and how to stop a moving vehicle. Of the 700 candidates, 386 were then offered a job.
In a ceremony organized to mark the new positions at Istanbul’s Gayrettepe police station, Istanbul Police Chief Mustafa Çalışkan on Aug. 13 referred to the new watchmen as “Night Eagles.”
“I believe that this new system will make a very big contribution. Do not use terms such as ‘uncle’ when talking with citizens, address them as ‘sir’ and ‘mam.’ Do not do anything wrong, as there is no possibility of those who do wrong being with us,” Çalışkan said, while also telling the watchmen to “not hesitate” to use their weapons.
“When your legal right arises, do not hesitate to use your authority. Know the regulations well. If you know the regulations well, your self-confidence will be higher,” he added.