Faulty Greek Police Radios Jeopardize Security for US Embassy, Prime Minister

The US Embassy in Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Radios being used by Greek police to guard critical locations, including the US Embassy and Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras’ residence at Maximos Mansion often don’t work, raising security worries.

The faulty radio problem was reported by unidentified senior Greek officials to Kathimerini, which cited a report from July, 2018 in which a senior riot unit officer said that the it was impacting police units across the entire Attica region.

The problem, the report said, lies “with the operation of the portable radios which can receive signals from the center of operations but they cannot transmit, and as a consequence officers cannot report an incident,” the report said, putting people at risk especially from rampaging anarchists who often tangle with riot police.

The official warned said that this “creates huge and insurmountable communication problems which may have unforeseen consequences,” sounding a warning. Officials said the police are saddled with old analog radios made before 2004 and Sepura TETRA digital radios purchased in 2015, which, however, also have had problems.

Referring to the Sepura radios, a senior-ranking police official said in another report that they are also problematic, the paper said. There was no response from the government.

“They have been malfunctioning in certain areas of Athens where riot units are deployed,” the official said, including Maximos Mansion, the Athens Appeals Court and the US Embassy, a target.

The TETRA C41-Siemens radios that were procured in 2004 for the Athens Olympics were deactivated six years ago after the contract to use them expired and another report drafted by the emergency response service noted that the Sepuras used in central Athens, western and northeast Attica were also malfunctioning.

The paper reported earlier the major reason for the technological breakdowns is aerials installed around Attica in recent years were deactivated due to negligence or because ELAS didn’t have the money to maintain them.

Civil Protection Minister Olga Gerovasili paid a recent visit to Barcelona in Spain to inquire about the latest communications systems, the paper added, instead of having the aerials fixed or dealing with the problem at home.

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