ATHENS – The aftermath of a riot by protesters denouncing police for brutality while trying to enforce COVID-19 health restrictions during a lenient lockdown will see officers required to display visible identification tags.
The Hellenic Police (ELAS) said it would begin the practice of the badges on the uniforms of officers and the helmets of riot police who were singled out by critics for aggression.
In addition to these measures, ELAS said that any unauthorized badge will constitute a disciplinary offense, said Kathimerini, the move made to require professionalism and give people a way of identifying police easier.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took office in July 7, 2019 snap elections on a platform that included law-and-order and tougher policing nevertheless said reforms were needed for the force.
Riot police and anarchists tangle often on the streets of Athens, trading tear gas and Molotov Cocktails in pitched battles out of a movie scene but demonstrators said police have gotten too tough dealing with COVID-19 violators.
But the government is going ahead with plans to set up security forces on college campuses where there has been violence, including against professors and staff, although students and many university officials don’t want policing.
The newspaper said that the announcement for the recruitment of 1,033 special guards who will staff the new service is expected to be made in April and they will be deployed at the start of the academic year in the autumn.
Opponents said it threatens academic freedom established after the end of military rule in the 1970’s but university officials had allowed lawlessness to spiral out of control, not holding anyone accountable for it.