Speedy police squad set to go

The rapid-reaction police unit heralded after a group of hooded attackers ran riot in the upmarket central Athens neighborhood of Kolonaki earlier this week is set to start on Monday and could soon be joined by a similar force that will tackle crime in rural areas. The government reacted to the Kolonaki rampage by saying that it would form a squad of 30 immediate-response teams, each comprising 12 officers, who would be stationed around the center, ready to react to such incidents. Sources revealed that the brief training of more than 300 officers is due to be completed on Monday, meaning that the policemen will be ready to start their new duties. Police sources told Kathimerini that the officers chosen already have considerable experience and, as a result, extensive training was not necessary. Police chiefs are currently discussing how to identify the new rapid-reaction units. The idea of naming them the «Delta» force has been suggested. The police’s motorcycle squad is called the «Z» force. The new Athens squad will be given scooters to get around the city center but, according to sources, authorities are thinking of setting up a similar force to cover non-urban areas. The police have already ordered some 200 high-powered motorcycles that will be used by officers to patrol the countryside, which has also been experiencing a rise in crime recently. Meanwhile, 19 people – 13 foreigners and six Greeks – were arrested during a large police operation around Omonia Square where 120 people had their details checked early yesterday. Police said that the majority of those taken into custody were arrested on drug offenses.

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