The Beijing Police force has a lot to be concerned about. Aside from protecting the 11+ million residents of the city they’re also in charge of the safety of the 11,028 Olympians competing and the many thousands more of guests. That’s a tall order for any force, with the murder of a US Olympic Team family member exhibiting how one act can change the mood of the entire games. But as the games unfold the Beijing Police is getting some criticism, and it’s not just because of the crime.
IOC Marketing Commission Chairman Gerhard Heiberg has a beef, and he doesn’t think he’s alone. The Beijing Police are too grim. The Norwegian Heiberg thinks that more smiling is in order.
The thousands of volunteers on the streets of Beijing are helpful and smiling, Heiberg told the Norwegian daily Aftenposten. "The police and military, on the other hand, need to act differently. Their faces look like they are made of stone. They're seriously scaring the foreigners in Beijing. The fact that they're armed and look sinister just makes things worse. That's why I've talked to China's political authorities and the Olympics organizers at our daily meetings. I've asked them to get people to smile more," the former athlete said.I’m not sure that smiling and welcoming attitudes from police have ever encouraged lax behavior, but I’m fairly certain strict and intimidating ones do prevent and deter. This isn’t democracy, after all. Do Olympic visitors expect to be greeted with milk and cookies? Who cares what they look like – they’re doing their job.