Police working as minders for ‘VIPs’

Around 6,000 police officers are believed to be working as private minders for politicians, businessmen and journalists despite the creation of a special department within the police force last November aimed at limiting the resources allocated for the protection of high-profile public figures. This department apparently has yet to become operational, since it only acquired an office in the past few weeks – more than eight months after its establishment. Greece is believed to be the only country in the European Union to have designated such a large proportion of its police officers for the protection of individuals. In other countries, such people only gain this kind of protection if they are considered vulnerable and if they pay for the services out of their own pockets. Last year, Kathimerini published a confidential report by the Greek police listing all public figures who had police minders. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis subsequently ordered an investigation aimed at curbing the practice.