Police radios used by units guarding sensitive locations in Athens, such as the US Embassy, the Athens Appeals Court and the residence of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Maximos Mansion, are faulty or don’t work at all, and this situation is raising security concerns, according to senior Greek Police (ELAS) officials who spoke to Kathimerini.
A report last July drafted by a senior riot unit officer said that the problem of malfunctioning radios has impacted police units across the entire Attica region.
The problem, the report said, lies “with the operation of the portable radios which can receive signals from the center of operations but they cannot transmit, and as a consequence officers cannot report an incident,” the report said.
The official warned said that this “creates huge and insurmountable communication problems which may have unforeseen consequences.”
According to officials, police have been using antiquated analog radios made before 2004 and Sepura TETRA digital radios purchased in 2015, which, however, also have had problems.
Referring to the Sepura radios, a senior-ranking police official said in another report that they are also problematic.
“They have been malfunctioning in certain areas of Athens where riot units are deployed,” the official said, adding that these areas are Maximos Mansion, the Athens Appeals Court and the US Embassy.
Moreover, the TETRA C41-Siemens radios that were procured in 2004 for the Athens Olympics were deactivated six years ago after the contract to use them expired.
A third report drafted by the emergency response service has noted that the Sepuras used in central Athens, western and northeast Attica were also malfunctioning.
As reported earlier in the week by Kathimerini, the main reason cited for the technological breakdowns is that aerials installed around Attica in recent years have been deactivated either due to negligence or because ELAS lacked the financial resources to maintain them.
Given the seriousness of the communication breakdown within the police, Civil Protection Minister Olga Gerovasili paid a recent visit to Barcelona in Spain to inquire about the latest communications systems.