NEWS

Police updated for crime-fighting

Police will use more modern and accurate techniques to record crime, so that crime-fighting policy can be tailored to each area individually, Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said at a news conference yesterday as he presented the force’s policy for 2010-14. Chrysochoidis said that a new online system would allow police chiefs to systematically observe crimes according to area and the time they were carried out. Authorities believe that this will help them tackle crime more effectively. The various police departments and stations around the country have each already submitted operational plans. Also 21 precincts in Athens and Thessaloniki that face serious crime problems, such as Aghios Panteleimonas, Omonia and Aspropyrgos, are going to be given more personnel and equipment. The police stations will also be staffed with psychologists and interpreters with the aim of helping officers to develop closer links with the immigrant communities that live in some of the areas where crime is rife. Chrysochoidis said that 1,100 officers who had been guarding VIPs until recently had returned to normal duty and that another 350 policemen would join them by the end of the year. Neighborhood police officers, who will patrol districts on foot and have regular contact with residents and store owners, will also be introduced as of the start of the new year to 18 precincts in Attica, six in Thessaloniki and 21 in the rest of Greece. Chrysochoidis said he was also hopeful that his plans to set up an FBI-style department would materialize by March next year. The new service would tackle organized crime, particularly financial and electronic crimes. This new department would also incorporate the anti-terrorist squad, said Chrysochoidis, who added that this merging of services would only happen once the current force completes its task of rooting out the so-called new generation of terrorists. Chrysochoidis was adamant at the news conference that there is a clear link between organized crime and terrorist groups. He claimed that the urban guerrillas carry out robberies and kidnappings to fund their purchase of weapons, which they buy from criminals. Meanwhile, doctors said last night that the lives of two policemen who were shot during a bank robbery on the island of Salamina were not in danger. One officer was hit in the leg, the other in the head. The two gunmen escaped.