Teamwork to beat crime

Police and local officials are going to start working together more closely, it was decided yesterday in a bid to tackle crime in Attica more effectively, with a particular emphasis on making the center of Athens safer for residents and visitors. Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis yesterday chaired a meeting of police chiefs and more than 40 Attica mayors in the hope of ushering in a new era of cooperation between the two sides. He also announced a set of measures, such as the reintroduction of foot patrols and the presence of psychologists and social workers at police stations, with the aim of improving the fight against crime. «These initiatives are designed to facilitate better communication between authorities and local communities in order to combat crime,» said Chrysochoidis, who, according to sources, has instructed police chiefs and local officials to sit down in the weeks to come and work out plans detailing the way that criminal activity needs to be tackled in each district of Attica. The minister said that an effort to upgrade police stations so that they are staffed with a variety of experts who can deal with the social aspects of crime would begin next month. He also repeated his intention to bring back neighborhood policemen to forge closer links between law enforcement and residents. Chrysochoidis said that he would personally visit each municipality to ensure that progress is being made. Much of yesterday’s meeting focused on the need to tackle rising crime in some parts of central Athens. One of the ideas discussed was for the government to improve facilities for the treatment of drug addicts, so that when they are arrested, rather than being brought to police precincts, they are taken to specialist centers where they can be given medical help. «I agree with the ideological framework,» said Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis after the talks. «I consider this to be a positive beginning and it will be even more positive if these conditions are observed as time progresses.»

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