NEWS

Police to be moved from desk jobs

In the latest attempt to fight rising crime in Athens, it has been decided that some 900 policemen who are currently doing desk jobs will be put on active duty, Sunday’s Kathimerini has learned. Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis has identified the lack of active personnel on the force as one of its main weaknesses and sources said that in conjunction with police chiefs he has agreed that the duties of these officers should be changed so that they can assist with policing in some of the areas of Attica that have been hit by crime. Sources added that 20 teams of plainclothes police detectives have also begun patrolling central Athens to boost crime-fighting operations there. The developments come just days after a new police unit took to the streets. Last Monday, almost 2,500 newly trained officers, members of the motorcycle-riding DIAS squad, took to the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki. The officers are patrolling in pairs on 650 cc motorcycles. There are just over 1,000 pairs on duty in Athens, patrolling 167 districts of the city. The marked increase in visible policing comes at a time when authorities have been struggling to cope with the range and high incidence of crime, particularly in Attica. In March alone, police in Attica arrested more than 4,000 suspects and recovered 300 stolen cars. During the week from March 23 to 30, police in Athens recorded 21 muggings, 20 armed robberies at stores and another 13 armed raids at banks and post offices. During the same period, there were also seven violent attacks on people in their homes by robbers. Police sources said there is concern within the force that the targets for robberies and break-ins is widening all the time and now includes doctors’ surgeries, greengrocers, restaurants, florists and bakeries.