NEWS

Attica officers' union says shortcomings let DIAS unit down in armed robber chase

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

TAGS: Crime

The union representing Attica’s police officers on Thursday condemned what it said was an antiquated and essentially useless wireless communications system that left members of the Greek Police’s (ELAS) DIAS motorcycle unit without support during an armed robbery and chase in a northern suburb of Athens on Wednesday.

Four armed robbers open fired on DIAS officers after a heist at a cold cuts factory in Kifissia, north of Athens, on Wednesday but the officers were unable to communicate with Attica’s police headquarters to request backup, according to the union, which is known by its acronym, SEFEAA. “Only after they had been shot at by the criminals and after much time had passed did they manage to communicate with their base, thankfully alive, standing and without injury,” the union said.

The officer tasked with coordinating the operation did not have an overview of the situation on the ground due to the officers’ inability to contact him via ELAS’s “third-world and useless communications system,” a spokesman for the union told Kathimerini. “It is tragic and bordering on the criminal that our colleagues are basically holding a purely decorative and essentially useless radio in their hands,” the spokesman said.

A new digital communications system, manufactured by British firm Sepura, is not yet operational despite more than a year-and-a-half of preparation and trial use by ELAS. Sources at the Citizens’ Protection Ministry attribute the delay in part to a slow response by the firm as well as omissions on the Greek side.

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