Some 130 armed police officers will begin patrolling metro stations in Athens next week as part of the government’s much-touted plan to restore law and order across the Greek capital.
The Greek Police (ELAS) will be implementing a joint ministerial decision signed in December last year which stipulated that officers will be allowed to travel for free on the metro network – and, in exchange, police agreed to guard the stations.
The plan that will be launched next week envisages that at least one officer will be on patrol duty at all stations from the moment train services begin in the early morning until they end at midnight.
Authorities added that more than one officer will be present at all times at larger stations like Omonia, Syntagma and Attiki, which serve the largest numbers of commuters.
The 150 officers have been recruited from local precincts across the capital and, according to Athens police headquarters (GADA), which has been tasked to implement the plan, they will help restore a sense of security among commuters and crack down on instances of petty theft and acts of vandalism on platforms and in train carriages.
The plan’s implementation will be overseen by local police precincts. In addition, two senior ranking officers will be on standby throughout the day – one at the GADA operations center and the other at an operations center at central Syntagma station.
For their part, senior ranking officers and officials of the Citizens’ Protection Ministry say that the new measure seeks to ensure that the presence of police officers in Athens in general becomes far more visible.
Moreover, to the end of further pronouncing the presence of police in the Greek capital, officers will wear black uniforms instead of the usual blue outfits – as is the case with officers that have been patrolling tourists sites around Athens over the last two weeks.
These patrols consist of teams of five officers who move around with vans.
New Democracy had long accused the previous leftist government of SYRIZA of doing next to nothing to tackle crime in the capital.