Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Crime Problem? Hire Gurkhas

I've long had a fascination with the Gurkhas,, a people from Nepal, ever since I first learned about them in high school. The Gurkhas are famous for the soldiers they produce -- in fact, the British East India Company was so impressed with them, after finally defeating them, Britian hired them as soldiers and Gurkhas have been part of the British army ever since. There are still four Gurkhas regiments in the British Army -- no other former or current members of the Commonwealth outside the UK have this distinction, and the Gurkhas have won more Victoria Crosses than any other troop in the British Army.

I first learned of the Gurkhas because of the khukuri, their traditional knife used for everything from choping wood to skinning animals to combat. There are stories of Gurkhas and their khukuris are legion. The first stories I remember hearing were of Gurkhas running through German trenches in WWI lopping heads off as they went.

Every once in a while, especially since Hong Kong was returned to China (until then, the Gurkhas were based in Hong Kong), you hear of former Gurkhas hiring out their services. The Gurkhas International Group provides services around the world and Claudia Schiffer reportedly hired Gurkhas bodyguards last year. And now, a news report this week states that an IKEA store in Nottingham has hired ex-Gurkhas soldiers to protect their parking lot. I love this quote:
"It's true that there has been no crime in the car park at all since the Gurkhas came in," David Attle, the store's risk controller, told Britain's domestic Press Association news agency amid the busy bank holiday rush.

"Prior to their appointment we had quite a high incident rate and it's a pleasure to say that since we have had the Gurkhas doing the patrols we haven't had a single incident so far."

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