Scooter cops for Salonica

Some 100 scooter-borne policeman are to be unleashed on the streets of Thessaloniki along with an increased number of foot patrols in order to combat and prevent crime more effectively, the police said yesterday. The Public Order Ministry has approved the purchase of the 50cc motorbikes by Thessaloniki police in what its chief, Major-General Giorgos Andravizos, called a «pioneering move by Greek standards.» Four scooters will be deployed to each of the city’s police stations and will patrol the surrounding area in pairs – one in the morning, the other by afternoon – in order to provide a nimble and flexible response to crime as well as an increased presence on the streets. Andravizos also announced more foot patrols and an increase to four, instead of three, squads responsible for targeting and preventing crime in areas of high criminality. Currently, Thessaloniki police stop and search 1,000 suspects a day, he said. Andravizos added that 150 officers had joined traffic police ranks and there were 350 checks carried out on vehicles each day.