Gov’t targets police corruption

The government is examining the possibility of prohibiting police officers from being stationed in the areas from which they originate and introducing tougher disciplinary penalties in order to stamp out corruption among law enforcers, according to Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. The minister acknowledged in an interview published in Sunday’s Kathimerini that corruption exists in the police force and public services in general and that a regulation enabling officers to serve in their hometown can be changed as a way of preventing links from easily developing with local crime figures. «We need to look at this major issue. For the sake of the reputation of the police force, we need to seriously discuss prohibiting police from being stationed in their own local area,» said Pavlopoulos. The conservative government is examining ways of fighting corruption after recent allegations of police being involved with organized criminal gangs. Last week, a senior police officer in Crete was suspended after allegations linking him with criminals in the mountain village of Zoniana where large quantities of drugs and weapons have been uncovered. The minister added that disciplinary action taken against offenders will be stricter and faster. «The worst kind of impunity is that which relies on the passage of time. This passage of time to some people… simply means tolerance (of corruption),» stressed the minister. Police union officials are supporting efforts to fight corruption, added Pavlopoulos, with tighter disciplinary measures expected to be introduced by March. Other attempts to improve policing include cutting down on the number of law enforcers being tied up in administrative positions and appointed to guard VIPs.