Greece is offering a ‘cop-for-hire’ service, renting out policemen for €30 per hour, plus €10 if you want a police car too. It triggered fears that security of people who cannot afford a policeman for hire may be affected in favor of those who can.
This new way for the cash-strapped Greek state to raise money will “pay for the cost of using police materials and infrastructure, and allow to modernize them”, the Ministry of Citizen Protection said in a statement.
The Police services on offer were previously used in “exceptional cases” – escorting the transportation of dangerous material or art works and were free of charge. Now, Police services have a price-tag. If you need something special the hourly fee for patrol boats is €200, and €1500 for helicopters, according to the Proto Thema newspaper.
Even though the ministry said it would only accept such hires if they do not affect the security forces’ operational capacity, only those with the cash will benefit from the initiative. The newspaper says the less wealthy will be left to deal with crime by themselves.
The financial crisis left Greece with rising unemployment, a fast-growing crime rate and a surge in illegal immigration. Security has substantially deteriorated in the Greek capital in recent years, with previously safe and calm neighborhoods of the city becoming literally off limits after nightfall.
The Athens City Council described the situation as, “The city’s historic center and other major areas are suffering desertification, all manner of criminal activity and manifestations of violence, insecurity, lawlessness, the impoverishment of significant numbers of people – both native inhabitants and foreign nationals, illegal prostitution and illegal drug trading.”
Youth unemployment is soaring as high as 50 per cent, driving some to leave the country, others to protest, and a few to resort to breaking the law.