ATHENS – Keeping to his word to restore security, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ law-and-order plan will see 130 armed Greek police begin patrolling metro stations in the Greek capital, a haven for pickpockets during the summer tourist season.
Under a December, 2018 ministerial decision, the police will guard the stations in return for being allowed free transport on the system and the plan, said Kathimerini, will begin with at least one officer alone on duty at all stations during the time it operates, ending shortly after midnight.
There will be more than once police officer at major, crowded stations, especially in the summer, including Omonia, Syntagma and Attiki, which serve the largest numbers of commuters. The patrols weren’t specifically tied to the problem of pickpocketing but their presence is aimed at deterring crime, including theft and vandalism.
It will be overseen by local police precincts and two two senior ranking officers will be on standby throughout the day – one at the GADA operations center and the other at an operations center at central Syntagma station, the report said.
Top cops and officials of the Citizens’ Protection Ministry said the intention is to show users of the system they are safe and to show the government means business when it comes to insuring law and order, including on the heavily-traveled system.
To stand out even more, the Metro Cops will wear black uniforms instead of the traditional blue, as was already done with police patrolling tourist sites after one member of the notorious anarchist group Rouvikonas said those could become targets for their protests too.
The tourist site patrols are comprised of teams of five officers moving around on vans to give them swifter access and the ability to move fast in case of any incidents, and to show they are at spots where Greece depends on visitors spending money to help the economy.
New Democracy and Mitsotakis had long denounced the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of condoning crime and violence in the capital to show off their Leftist anti-establishment credentials while running the government.