Police carrying criminals’ guns

Some law enforcers are taking it into their own hands to arm themselves by using confiscated guns from crime scenes or buying their own revolvers because the government supplies the police force with service weapons dating as far back as 1911. A senior police source told Kathimerini yesterday that many officers are being forced to do their jobs with inadequate weapons. Some staff employed as guards have been supplied with revolvers manufactured in 1911, while several police officers have received handguns that were produced in the 1950s. Due to the poor quality and low number of weapons on offer, many law enforcers are being forced to dig into their own pockets, the source added. The price of a used handgun ranges between 300 to 400 euros, while a new one has a 600-euro price tag, according to sources. More specialized, handmade guns are available for 3,000 euros each, but experts say that these items cater to more specialized clientele, such as businessmen. Meanwhile, other police officers are dipping into the box of confiscated weapons to arm themselves, choosing to carry a firearm that may have been used in a shootout with police or even to kill someone. «Confiscated weapons become the property of the state. According to the practices adopted, they are then used for the purposes of the department,» the police source said. The Public Order Ministry has ordered 40,000 guns to arm its staff but the 18-million-euro price tag appears to have put the brakes on the purchase, the source explained. The number of gun permits in Greece is currently at 3,500, along with another 1 million licenses for hunting rifles. However, illegal gun ownership remains a problem, as Public Order Ministry officials estimate that there are currently 1.5 million guns in circulation without the necessary paperwork. Of this amount, some 800,000 are hunting rifles, while 600,000 more are located in Crete, where gun ownership plays a part in local culture.