Central Corfu to acquire Municipal Police again at a later time
Photo: Archive / Enimerosi
CORFU. Deputy Mayor Giorgos Pantelios: "We will not be excluded from the process because of the deadline".
The process for the Central Corfu Municipality to acquire again Municipal Police will be carried out later on.
The deadline for municipalities to submit requests to the Ministry of Interior for the number of people they need is 18 January. However, the Municipal Authority has not yet adopted a new organisational chart, which provides for the establishment of a Municipal Police Department, so that staff can be recruited.
As the Deputy Mayor for Finance Giorgos Pantelios told Enimerosi, this deadline concerns municipalities that either have an active Municipal Police or had provided for its establishment by the approved Internal Service Organisation.
Without an Internal Service Organisation
However, according to Mr. Pantelios, since many municipalities around the country do not have an Internal Service Organisation, they will not be excluded from the process by the Ministry of Interior, which concerns the recruitment of 1,264 municipal police officers through ASEP.
"The Internal Service Organisation is ready and we are adapting it to the new qualifications, so that we can bring it to the Town Council for a vote soon. We will then submit our requests to the Ministry of Interior for recruitment. We will not be excluded from the process because of the deadline," Mr. Pantelios told Enimerosi.
However, especially for the Central Corfu Municipality, the presence of municipal police officers is even more important ahead of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, in which the municipal authority has invested for a more friendly town. This is because the Municipal Police will have an important and active role in its implementation in cooperation, of course, with the Traffic Police.
The Municipal Police is something that the Municipality is claiming. As the Deputy Mayor for Everyday Life Haris Yiotis told Enimerosi, last year the Ministry of Interior requested the recruitment of 14 people for this purpose, but there was no action from the state.
What had happened in the past
It is worth noting that Corfu has had a Municipal Police in the past. However, it was abolished in the whole country in 2013 under the ND government. Then, the SYRIZA government brought it back. However, as former Mayor Kostas Nikolouzos explained to Enimerosi, only three people shown interest, who would nevertheless be responsible for the whole island.
"We had then decided to suspend the operation of this service. One cannot make a Municipal Police with three people, so it was not included in the Municipality's new organisational chart, which was transitional for the operation of the three municipalities following the split of the single municipality," explained Mr. Nikolouzos.
At a snail’s pace
Although the new municipalities were required by law to set up their organisational chart within six months, the process has been extremely slow. The Internal Service Organisation in the Central Corfu Municipality still has not been created and as a result the Municipal Police will have to start operating later on. The Internal Service Organisation is very important as without it permanent staff cannot be recruited, and for this reason the recruitment is only for fixed-term temporary staff.
"The Internal Service Organisation has to go through consultation, Executive Committee and other processes before it reaches the Town Council. There was also the pandemic for two years, during which the municipality was working with security personnel," said Mr. Pantelios, regarding the reasons for the delay.
North Corfu Municipality
The North Corfu Municipality, on the other hand, acted quicker, even though it is one of the newly established municipalities. According to Deputy Mayor Spyridoula Kokkali the Internal Service Organisation, which includes the Municipal Police Department, was approved on 21 July 2022 and now its submission in digital form is being completed.
"All necessary actions have been taken and we are ready to submit our requests for the number of people to staff the Municipal Police. Its presence is important and necessary because of the tourism our island has," she said.
In the Paxos Municipality, even though there is provision in the organisational chart, as the Mayor Spyros Vlachopoulos told Enimerosi, its operation is not a priority for the island. "It is better to reinforce the regular police with personnel in the summer, because of the tourism. We don't need to have a service that will not have an objective after that period," said the Paxos Mayor.
The police will be relieved
However, the presence of Municipal Police is expected to relieve the regular police (ELAS) from the many responsibilities it has assumed, as the President of the Corfu Police Employees Union Nikos Bozikis told Enimerosi.
"To a very large extent, their presence will help and we will be able to disengage from the extra responsibilities we have taken on, such as the inspections to the tables and chairs, and deal with our own workload. The staff shortages in the Police are too many," concluded Mr. Bozikis.