OPINION

Professionalism

Praise was heaped on the police force by the media after Wednesday’s bus hijacking. It was the professionalism of the force, the media raved, that brought the hostage crisis to a peaceful end. Without doubt, the praise was justified. The public and media commendation of the police was the culmination of a gradual shift in the manner in which the public has treated the police the past few years, a transformation that is not only the result of an upgrade in the technical infrastructure and the training techniques of the force, but also reflects the fact that today, a decade after the reforms came into force, recruitments are not made on the basis of partisan criteria or political favors. Rather, the police staff has gone through higher and university education after first taking – transparent – national examinations. The nature of their profession and, often, the methods that police officers must use in order to carry out specific orders (to be sure, there is always the risk of some officers being too keen, as it were, to follow the orders of their superiors) naturally render them unpopular with the general public. On the other hand, it would be unfair not to acknowledge that the quality of the Greek police has improved considerably, both in terms of effectiveness as well as in terms of officers’ attitudes toward ordinary people.