New wheels for police stations

Mobile police stations will operate out of high-tech vans by the year’s end in a plan by the Public Order Ministry to beef up law enforcement on the city’s streets, sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini. Equipped with the same technological equipment available at police stations, the vans – essentially mobile police offices – will provide similar services for citizens. Residents will be able to officially validate their signature and will also be able to report incidents as they do at traditional police stations. The vehicles will be directly linked with all of the Public Order Ministry’s data banks and online services. The move is part of government efforts to help citizens feel safer in the city after a spate of violent armed robberies in the first few months of the year raised questions about the effectiveness of policing in Athens. The vans had been ordered three years ago but the plan’s implementation was delayed because of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, which placed great demands on police staff time. Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras has approved the plan for the mobile stations, which have worked successfully in countries such as Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, the source added. The police vans will be parked throughout the city, based on each area’s need. The vans will stick close to service districts during summer months and also park in densely populated neighborhoods such as Kypseli to help relieve heavily burdened police stations in those areas. Additionally, policemen in the vans will examine crime scenes in their areas.