NEWS

Polydoras puts job on line after slamming police

An unusual outburst by Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras caught the government by surprise yesterday as he suggested he would be willing to step down in the wake of recent criticism, while also claiming that he was grappling with a managerial crisis within the police force. Polydoras has been in the firing line after a wave of attacks on police stations and other targets in central Athens by suspected anarchists, the firing of shots at a police station in Nea Ionia and riots at almost a dozen prisons across Greece. «I have told you before and I will tell you again, my resignation is available to the prime minister now and at any time in the future,» Polydoras told MPs during a parliamentary debate. His comments came less than a week after Savvas Tsitouridis was forced to resign as labor minister. Premier Costas Karamanlis has since been trying to restore stability to his government as he seeks an upturn in opinion polls. «I am serving a sentence,» the minister added. «Should I be the happy MP who after 30 years of service acts as a breakwater just so my colleagues can tell me that I am a man of violence or that I make unfortunate statements? No way.» Polydoras went on to blast the opposition parties, which he claims are not supporting him in his efforts to combat what he called «political violence» in Greece. «I am not trying to shirk my responsibility,» said the minister. «I am asking the main opposition party [PASOK] to put forward their thoughts, ideas and suggestions on crime and political violence.» Late last year, Polydoras provoked an angry response from Synaspismos Left Coalition when he suggested the party was fostering violence among leftists and self-styled anarchists. Opposition MPs insisted yesterday that they supported police efforts to catch troublemakers but accused law enforcement officers of not doing their job properly. Polydoras admitted that he was having problems combating what he called «a civil service mentality» in the police force. He added that there was «a lack of management» in the force. The minister also decried poor information gathering by police officers. «I am sorry to say it, but there is no information.» Polydoras said that details about suspects were not being collected because some policemen fear being branded «snitches.» Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday that members of Greece’s anti-terrorist squad have been called in to help guard police stations in Attica. The number of police guards on night duty at the stations will also be doubled from one to two.