The interior and justice ministers are teaming up to introduce a municipal police as a separate body from state police, in response to huge delays in local administration reform.
The municipal police force, which is based on a decision in 2014 to modernise local administrations, will help relieve state police from many duties, such as noise pollution, illegal smoking, and certain traffic violations.
According to daily Phileleftheros, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides and Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou want to make it possible for local council police to handle minor offences, such as parking, so that state police can address more serious problems such as speeding, Breathalyzer tests, narcotests, as well as focus on the prevention of fatal accidents and serious crime.
But the move also comes just days after police complained they are kept very busy trying to deal with illegal smoking, such as issuing fines for smoking in prohibited areas or pressing charges against entertainment venue owners who did not enforce the law.
The goal is to make it possible for local council police to handle minor offences, so that state police can address more serious problems
Another goal for the two ministers is to establish central and municipal police disctircts in order to make it more difficult for small local communities to turn a blind eye to offences, as it is often the case that many incidents go unreported because locals know each other.
Revenue generated by municipal police, including money from parking tickets and smoking fines, could help reduce the budget that the state pays to local municipalities.
The two ministers will put their heads together in order to introduce government legislation for municipal police, independently from legislation on local administration and municipalities reform which is currently being held up in various House committees.