Day of the River Police Officer

On 25 July, River Police Officers celebrate their professional holiday in Russia. Until 2011, it was called ‘River Police Day’ but after the new federal law ‘On Police’ of 2011, the name of the holiday changed.

For the first time in the structure of Russian law enforcement agencies, such a unit as the river police appeared in the second half of the 19th century – the project on its creation as a separate body was approved by the Tsar in June 1867. It became part of the outdoor police as a special body for monitoring the order in the water spaces in Saint Petersburg.

The river police patrolled the waters of the capital of the Russian Empire, supervised water transport facilities (carried out inspections of ships, piers) and other water objects, such as fish tanks, baths, and also fought theft and fires on the water. In the following years, river police units began to appear in other Russian regions to monitor the water spaces adjacent to cities to fulfill control and sanitary tasks.

After the October Revolution of 1917, the river police, like most of the law enforcement system of tsarist Russia, was liquidated. But already on 25 July 1918, the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars ‘On the Establishment of the River Militia’ was issued. Today, this date is considered to be the day of the creation of the River Police in Russia.

Departments of this division were organised in provincial cities and counties, on the territory of which navigable rivers flowed. Initially created according to the territorial principle, the river police subsequently began to be organised in accordance with river basins to increase the efficiency of work.

As it has been for all the time of their existence, the river police units are still working to combat crime and offenses at water transport facilities in Russia, including the detection of economic crimes, as well as in the field of illegal trafficking in weapons and drugs. Due to the specifics of the work, close attention of employees is also paid to the fight against poaching.

On their professional holiday, all river police officers receive congratulations from colleagues and management, and the best of them are awarded state and departmental awards.

Translated by Elizaveta O. Ovchinnikova

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