ATHENS – There was no improvement in the fight against corruption in the Greek police department under the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA which promised to stamp it out with the annual report from the Internal Affairs Office showing little change in 2018 from the year before.
In fact, data showed more serious corruption with a rise in prosecutions against police officers and staff for involvement in organized crime, said Kathimerini, with investigators handling 1,122 complaints against officers, or three every day.
Some 60 percent related to police officers, 20 percent to civil servants and 10 percent to private individuals, with 23 officers arrested, a jump of 10 percent from 2017, and nine accused of serious crimes, particularly human smuggling of migrants compared to three the year before.
In the latest case, an officer was arrested on July 12 at the airport of Kos, in the eastern Aegean, for organized migrant trafficking. The island, close to Turkey, is one of the preferred destinations for refugees and migrants coming to Greek islands where they hope to find asylum or face being sent back to Turkey, where they first went from trouble-ridden countries in the Middle East.
In October, 2018, there were four cases of police corruption within only two weeks, including one involving an officer on the organized crime unit who was arrested for his part in a drug trafficking gang, reports said.
Two days later, another policeman was charged with breaking and entering after he was caught, bound and gagged by an apartment’s occupants who turned on him. The same month, an officer on the island of Samos was also caught and charged with smuggling migrants, followed by two more on the same count.
Bribing police officers is common in Greece. Citizens may offer the police cash to avoid getting a ticket or to get a driver’s license with 96 percent of Greeks thinking that’s okay as it helps get what they want, Transparency International said.