Funds sought for local police

Local authorities yesterday proposed that the government cover the cost of the country’s municipal policemen in the short term, after fears that slowly depleting funds might lead to disbanding the force. Each municipal policeman costs the taxpayer on average 27,000 euros a year and the project’s total annual price tag is some 700 million euros, according to figures revealed during yesterday’s meeting of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE). There are currently some 900 officers serving in municipal forces. KEDKE will draw up a proposal for the Interior Ministry, asking that the money to cover these costs comes out of state coffers this year and next. In 2007, when some 750 extra officers are due to be hired, municipalities are proposing to cover a quarter of the total cost with the rest of the funds coming from the state budget. Problems with the training of municipal officers in the three specially designated colleges were also discussed during the meeting as well as the legal status of the force.