NEWS

Using security know-how

Even before the Athens Olympic Games, the Public Order Ministry had announced the establishment of a Security Study Center (KEMEA) as the organization that would make use of the technical know-how acquired for the purposes of the Games. The center became operational – formally, at least – when Parliament passed a bill early last week. Public Order Ministry officials say KEMEA will function in a similar way to strategic studies institutes for security issues in other countries. According to the bill, KEMEA’s purpose is to «carry out theoretical and applied research and undertake studies, particularly at strategic level, on issues concerning civil security and to provide advisory services to the ministry and other organizations.» This could include programs for or in conjunction with corresponding organizations in the European Union, other nations or international organizations. Also planned is cooperation at a national and international level with groups, research and training centers, social and scientific groups, both state and private, and with non-governmental organizations. Studies will include criminal phenomena and the way they have changed both quantitatively and qualitatively in Greece, as well as methods and practices for crime-fighting policy. Proposals will be made for harmonizing the prevention and fighting of crime with the constitutional individual and civil rights. Technological developments in security systems will also be studied, and proposals formulated for countries abroad and international organizations. There are also provisions for developing cross-border cooperation procedures, conferences and training programs and the publication of research and scientific reports. The minister will be able to commission research programs and studies from KEMEA on specific issues, while post-graduate researchers may apply for approval for participation in research programs. KEMEA, which will be a private-law organization, will have four departments – Study, Research and Documentation, Crime-Fighting Policy, International Cooperation and Communications, and Technology and Systems. Services to third parties, particularly to foreign countries, will provide considerable revenues, part of which are destined for the state budget. KEMEA has already reached agreement with China in designing security systems for the 2008 Beijing Olympics; a protocol is expected to be signed within the month. Negotiations are underway with Germany regarding arrangements for next year’s soccer World Cup, with Italy for the 2006 Winter Olympics, and with Qatar for the Pan-Asian Games, also in 2006. Brazil has indicated an interest in view of the Pan-American Games of 2007. Austria and Switzerland have also been in touch over their joint organization of the European Soccer Championship in 2008, as has South Africa regarding its hosting of the World Cup in 2010. Talks have also commenced with London for the 2012 Games. All of the above are seen as a source of considerable revenue which will partly offset the exorbitant cost of the Athens Olympics, as well as boost the reputation of Greece’s security services, which received such favorable press after the successful organization of Athens 2004.