The Public Order Ministry is in talks with Israeli firms regarding the acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, to bolster the efforts of the Greek Police (ELAS) to monitor the country’s borders and curb illegal immigration as well as cracking down on organized crime and domestic terrorism, Kathimerini has learned.
It remains unclear how many drones the ministry is seeking to acquire and what type. In any case the aircraft, once acquired, will be able to provide Greek security services with useful data including cell phone signals that could help avert crimes and terrorist attacks.
According to an extremely well-informed source, Greek authorities first considered the acquisition of such aircraft during the summer of 2011 when the “Indignants” movement of citizens opposed to austerity was growing rapidly with thousands gathering in Syntagma Square day and night.
A drone was used to trace several Albanian convicts who escaped from Trikala Prison in central Greece in March last year.
It is likely that European Union subsidies will be used for the purchase of the UAVs though it remains unclear what sum has been earmarked for the investment. Meanwhile, ELAS is planning to scrap the wireless, encrypted TETRA security system,
which was acquired for the Athens 2004 Olympics, as it has been deemed too costly, Kathimerini understands. The system, which was purchased for 90 million euros, costs some 4.5 million euros to maintain per year.
In a bid to further tighten security, authorities are considering the reactivation of surveillance cameras in central Athens.