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Greek police: 3% of policemen are ‘unfit’ to carry a weapon

Shocking data about the ability of Greece’s police. Hundreds of policemen have not undergone checks by special “weapons committees” and from those who have a 3 percent is not capable to carry a weapon.

According to a report by daily Eleftheros Typos, there are only two special committees operating in Athens and Thessaloniki. Their members consist of one   psychiatrist and two psychologists and report directly to the Chief of Police.

3% of the members of Greek police examined by the committees were found to be  unfit to carry a weapon. They were transferred to desk duties.

“Sources” told ET that this 3% refers to so-called “serious cases” and that the figure would be much higher if there were more thorough examination.

“There are men of the Police who have been involved in serious incidents with injuries or deaths but have not spoken with psychologists,” ET notes.

The so-called “weapons committees” have been in operation since 2009. They have examined 16,500 policemen in Attica and found 500 of them as unfit to carry weapons.

This means that at least 4,000 policemen in Attica have never been through the weapons committees. “Based of the above percentage it is estimated that 120 policemen should not carry a weapon,” the daily notes.

The committees can not examine more than 2,060 men a year in Athens. Even after armed clashes there are policemen who are not asked to go through the committees.

The 30-year old special guard, who murdered a 52-year-old taxi driver in Kastoria, ten days ago, had not gone through a weapon committee, although he was involved in an armed clash. In summer 2014, the policeman had opened fire amid the crowd in downtown Athens in an effort to catch fugitive terrorist Nikos Maziotis. He did not passed though a committee although he was transferred from Athens to his hometown Kastoria for security reasons.

Such serious incidents effect the psychology of the policemen involved, experts told the daily.

“When we have incidents with injuries or deaths, the examination is necessary. It does not mean that these people are unsuitable because they shoot. This is not the case. But simple control is needed. for the sake of the society and for themselves. These are events stigmatize your life,” a police source  said and reckoned the suicides committed by policemen. 

“In January a riot policeman committed suicide in Athens,” the source said stressing that “there are difficult times, there are also other factors that have nothing to do with the service, such as family problems experienced by everyone.”

Examination by the committee is practically a snap shot of the given period of time. If one is mentally healthy now, it doesn’t mean he will also be after three years. The experts told the daily that policemen should be examined every five years. They added that “due to the work overload the committees deem as unfit to carry weapons only the serious cases.”

These shocking data coincides with the establishment of a Hot Line for policemen that will be available as of  today, Wednesday, midnight. The Hot Line aims to offer psychological support to any police officer and ensures confidentiality.

The service is staffed by nine police officers who have studied psychology and underwent special training to handle their colleagues problems. The Hot Line will operate 24 hours per day.

The project was presented by the general secretary of Public Order, Dimitris Anagnostakis and Chief of Hellenic Police, Lieutenant Constantinos Tsouvalas.

The establishment of the hot line was a request submitted already in 2009.

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4 comments

  1. 3 out of 100 or 3 out of 10? Better check the headline there jr.

  2. 3% is not 3 out of 10! Which is it?

  3. This site is in sore need of an editor. STAT!