ELAS over­haul un­veiled

Bill tabled by Pub­lic Or­der Min­istry aims to stream­line po­lice, cut spend­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Faced witha resur­gence in ur­ban guer­rilla ac­tiv­ity, the gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day un­veiled plans to over­haul the Greek Po­lice (ELAS) in a bid to im­prove pa­trols and cut spend­ing.

Dur­ing an Athens press brief­ing, Pub­lic Or­der Min­is­ter Nikos Den­dias said the aim of the au­thor­i­ties is to re­duce the force’s re­sponse time by up to 25 per­cent and to bring Greek of­fi­cials’ per­for­mance rat­ings up to the same level as the Euro­pean Union av­er­age.

The bill, which was tabled in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day, fore­sees the scrap­ping of about 6,700 per­ma­nent posts, which are cur­rently va­cant, as well as the merg­ing of ELAS’s sur­plus ad­min­is­tra­tive de­part­ments. The move is ex­pected to cut their num­ber al­most in half, from 120 to 68. With the ex­cep­tion of the At­tica and Thes­sa­loniki pre­fec­tures, the re­main­ing 52 po­lice di­rec­torates will be sub­sti­tuted by the 12 re­gional di­rec­torates.

Ac­cord­ing to the blue­print, ELAS will be split into three au­ton­o­mous bu­reaus that will be re­spon­si­ble for or­der, se­cu­rity and im­mi­gra­tionre­lated is­sues. The Or­der Branch will in­clude the de­part­ments of the gen­eral po­lice, traf­fic po­lice and the newly es­tab­lished cit­i­zen ser­vice and mu­nic­i­pal po­lice. The Se­cu­rity Branch, dubbed by Den­dias as “the Greek FBI,” will ab­sorb the anti-ter­ror­ism squad, the cy­ber­crimes depart­ment and the po­lice’s crime in­tel­li­gence unit. Fi­nally, the Aliens Branch will bring to­gether bor­der po­lice and il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion preven­tion units.

The New Democ­racy min­is­ter said that the re­vamp will not af­fect the bud­get, adding that the gov­ern­ment hopes to at­tract funds from the sub­si­dies pro­gram of the Na­tional Strate­gic Ref­er­ence Frame­work (ESPA).

Dur­ing the press brief­ing, Den­dias con­firmed an ear­lier re­port in Kathimerini that ELAS is work­ing with US and Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence ser­vices in or­der to track down and ar­rest Novem­ber 17 mem­ber and fugi­tive Christodou­los Xeros. Xeros, who was serv­ing six life sen­tences in the max­i­mum-se­cu­rity Ko­ry­dal­los Prison in Athens for killing Amer­i­can and Bri­tish op­er­a­tives, dis­ap­peared ear­lier this month af­ter fail­ing to check in with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties dur­ing an ap­proved hol­i­day fur­lough.

Af­ter re­cent de­vel­op­ments, Den­dias said “re­quests for po­lice pro­tec­tion are com­ing in waves.”

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