Plan to curb violence

The Greek Police and the country’s judiciary authorities yesterday agreed to boost their cooperation to ensure that more trouble-makers, such as those who caused widespread damage and upheaval in central Athens last week, get the punishment they deserve. Greek Police Chief Anastassios Dimoschakis yesterday visited Supreme Court President Romylos Kedikoglou and the court’s prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas to express the police’s frustration with the fact that those arrested for violence in public places, university grounds and soccer stadiums are often not convicted. According to Kedikoglou and Sanidas, this is usually because the police files submitted to the judiciary after such arrests are incomplete and there is an absence of witnesses. Often these shortfalls provoke a delay in the case getting to court or even its total collapse, they said. The two judiciary officials reassured Dimoschakis that they would do their best to ensure less time elapses between arrests and trial dates. But they asked for his cooperation to ensure police files on such cases are more thorough. Dimoschakis stressed that officers who arrest troublemakers cannot always testify as witnesses, either because they cannot identify the assailants, who often wear masks, or because their personal safety is at risk. Commenting on last week’s clashes in central Athens, Dimoschakis said: «The police does not have a vendetta against anti-state activists, it just wants to prosecute illegal activities.» In a related development yesterday, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras defended his ministry’s desire to start using hundreds of CCTV television cameras in the capital for surveillance purposes to help crack down on crime. «We need the cameras – they are a valuable tool for police work,» Polydoras told Kathimerini. But he said that «judicial guarantees» would need to be secured before they could start operating. «I don’t intend for them to function as Big Brother… but to serve the greater good, namely public safety,» he said. The minister called upon judicial officials to outline a viable framework for the cameras’ operation and implement certain provisions; for example, Polydoras said, judges should make it clear if the footage from cameras could be admissible as evidence in court and whether certain time limits should be set on the storage of the tapes.

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