Greater powers for police units

Three new police units with extra powers to investigate suspects are to be created to help authorities in their bid to clamp down on tax evasion and other financial crimes that damage public coffers, according to draft legislations seen by Sunday’s Kathimerini. A presidential decree that is to be submitted to Parliament soon foresees the creation of a department that will be responsible for protecting public property, another that will be concerned with tax issues and a third that will focus on matters relating to social insurance. The officers working in these three departments will be given unprecedented powers to monitor suspects. Despite Greece’s strict privacy laws, the legislation proposes that the new units be allowed to eavesdrop on suspects’ conversations and communications and that officers be allowed to disguise their true identities when in pursuit of a suspect. The new departments will be created as part of a general restructuring of the police, which was instigated by the previous citizens’ protection minister, Michalis Chrysochoidis, but will be completed under his successor, Christos Papoutsis. Among the other changes will be the creation of a central body to collect and sift through information, which will then be made available to other departments. Another department will also be set up to tackle violence at sports grounds, which continues to be a problem in Greece. It is hoped that the new body that will tackle hooliganism will mirror other such departments abroad that make use of intelligence to prevent violence.