NEWS

Ongoing investigations expected to lead to new round of arrests

Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis bid 2002 farewell with an historic achievement: the breakup of the November 17 terrorist organization. And continuing the endeavor to completely stamp out terrorism in Greece is one of his priorities for the new year. Developments are expected soon in connection with the remaining terrorist groups: Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) and its offshoots May 1 and Revolutionary Nuclei. The Public Order Ministry wants to put an end to terrorism, without leaving any questions unanswered or hints of unfinished business, and so investigations will continue. As Chrysochoidis himself has noted, such investigations are not subject to deadlines, nor will they be conducted hastily just for the sake of making an impression. This year is also an important one for preparing security arrangements for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The security committee for the Games has already drawn up plans. It will cooperate with an advisory committee of experts from seven countries, and is expected to complete most of the preparations for some readiness exercises in 2003. Meanwhile, programs for training groups of officers abroad in security matters are nearing completion. These officers will then train their subordinates to implement the programs. As for tackling crime, as of March a new institution will come into force in Athens and Thessaloniki: the neighborhood police officer. This system, which already operates successfully in a number of countries, entails allocating specific police officers to guard small areas. The objective is for officers to become acquainted with local residents and to cultivate personal relations, so that everyone knows the local police officer who is responsible for their neighborhood and is able to approach him or her for assistance. The program will be introduced gradually to other areas and is to be in place throughout Greece by early 2004. The ministry is placing special emphasis on stamping out minor crime. The road safety program «On the Road,» which began in 2001 and is to run till 2005, is continuing this year. The objectives set for reducing the number of road accidents and deaths have already been met, so some elements of the program are to be redesigned, to emphasize preventive measures and informing the public.