Minister of Citizen Protection in Greece Launches Ambitious Police Overhaul

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Public safety in Greece is set to receive a significant boost as Michalis Chrisochoidis, the newly appointed Citizen Protection Minister, undertakes a crucial mission to revamp the Hellenic Police. The primary focus of this reform is to increase police presence on the streets, aiming to address the growing public perception of insecurity.

Tackling Public Insecurity

Although ongoing debates surround the actual crime rates, public sentiment leans towards an increasing sense of insecurity. The perception of violence, as indicated by opinion polls, has played a vital role in shaping this sentiment. Chrisochoidis’s strategy is to directly confront this perception by reinforcing the presence of law enforcement in high-crime areas.

Historically Low Police Patrols

The current state of Hellenic Police patrols, including car patrols and the DIAS motorbike unit, is at an all-time low. Regions with high crime rates, like western Attica and certain areas in southeast Attica, are severely understaffed. Chrisochoidis, assuming office on January 4, aims to reverse this declining trend.

Enhancing the Police Force

Chrisochoidis’s reform plan involves increasing the number of traffic police, patrolling officers, and police stations. He has already taken steps towards achieving this goal by adding more staff to the emergency call center and reassigning officers from administrative tasks to more active roles. The minister also intends to transfer more police officers from VIP protection duties to local precincts and patrols, aligning with the efforts of his predecessor, Giannis Oikonomou. Since September, Oikonomou has relocated 600 officers from VIP protection, a trend that Chrisochoidis aims to continue.

In addition, Chrisochoidis plans to address the surplus of officers stationed on the island of Lesvos. During the peak of the migrant crisis, these officers were deployed to the island. However, with the closure of the Moria camp and the responsibility for migration now handled by border guards, the presence of 200 officers is deemed excessive and will be redeployed elsewhere.