Politicians’ guards to be redeployed on streets
Thousands of police officers guarding Greek politicians and VIPs will be redeployed to fight street crime, in a move aimed at quelling public anger over the privileges of the ruling class in the near-bankrupt country.
Ministers of the new government have already taken a 30 per cent pay cut, as ordinary Greeks lament that they bear the brunt of painful austerity measures demanded by the EU and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a rescue.
About 1,500 officers are set to be removed from their positions as personal guards of politicians, businessmen and others and redeployed to the streets of Athens, police said.
They added that the security of parliament’s corridors is to be handed to a private firm.
“We are certain this move will bear significant fruit as far as savings of staff and funds is concerned,” the police spokesman, Christos Manouras, said. “It will also instil a sense of security in our fellow citizens.”
Greek tabloids regularly feature pictures of high-level politicians escorted by officers carrying their umbrellas or food shopping, fuelling anger among cash-strapped Greeks.
Police said prime minister Antonis Samaras’s personal guard would be scaled down by 25 officers and that of left-wing opposition leader Alexis Tsipras by 20 officers.
The government would also scrap police escort services for MPs and mayors.
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