OPINION

Smart security

Old habits die hard and some seem especially outdated. Take for example the major police mobilization that occurs every time the president or prime minister decide to go anywhere or even when they are simply trying to get to and from work. The police even have special jargon for the operation of placing a traffic policeman at almost every corner that a dignitary will pass by. Naturally the transportation of high officials should be made as safely and as quickly as possible, but somehow, in other European countries, this is achieved by a simple motorcade clearing the way ahead of the official vehicle instead of blocking entire streets off from all other traffic. In Greece we are still following a very old-fashioned model for official transportation, even for routine itineraries. The waste of money and manpower required for each of these operations is huge. Knowing something of what President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis are like, I am certain that neither is pleased to see a string of policemen flanking their every daily route. In fact, I am certain that it bothers them no end, as neither likes to show off or flaunt his authority. On the other hand, changing police protocol is always an arduous and time-consuming task. At a time when the state is looking to cut back on public spending, and even the president demanded a modest reception for the celebration to mark 35 years since the restoration of democracy, it is absolutely imperative that we modernize our methods and protocol for getting (real) high-ranking officials and dignitaries to and from their business. After all, history has shown us that a large police presence does not necessarily yield as many results as swift action, thinking ahead and acting professionally.