Greek government is mulling the establishment of a special police force for public transport in the greater region of Athens, Transport Minister Kostas. Karamanlis said on Friday. the minister’s announcement comes two days after the brutal beating of a metro worker in a station in central Athens.
Speaking on Skai FM, Karamanlis said that the aim of the new police force will be to assist and ensure the safety and security of the traveling public throughout Attica’s public transport networks.
He said that the plan has already been discussed with Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis. The new force would come into being by the end of the year, he added. He did not elaborated on the number of the police officers to be hired for this purpose.
On Thursday, a prosecutor in Athens ordered a preliminary investigation into the brutal assault of a metro worker on Wednesday by two young commuters who refused his request to wear a mask.
The station manager was punched and kicked repeatedly by the two men at Omonia station. The victim was hospitalized with serious injuries, among them several broken ribs and the jaw.
Police said Thursday it was a “matter of time” before they track down and arrest the attackers whose faces were clearly shown in footage recorded by the metro’s CCTV cameras.
Karamanlis said that police were close to identifying the suspects.
According to newspaper ethnos, the Metro network is guarded by 50 special guards working in two shifts, ie by only 25 police officers per shift who usually perform their duty in pairs.
Private security companies have been also assigned with the guarding of transport in Athens.
According to athenstransport, current Citizens Protection Minister Chrysochoidis had already proposed the creation of a Transport Police body in 2014, when he was serving as Transport Minister. However, the plans did not go ahead due to parliamentary elections.
Note that police guarding public transport means makes sense only for metro and urban train ISAP, that operate with controlled entrance platforms, but not for buses, trolley bus and the tram
PS What it’s interesting is that when it comes to police hiring the government immediately jumps in. When it comes to strengthen the transport network with vehicles and drivers to avoid commuters’ crowding in times of the pandemic… we are still waiting.