Probe into National Gallery security finds serious failings

Security was woeful at the National Gallery, where two valuable paintings were stolen in January, according to a report produced by the general inspector of public administration, Leandros Rakintzis.

In his assessment, Rakintzis detailed how the security system, first installed in 1992, had not been updated in the last 12 years and that its batteries, which had expired, had not been replaced.

Rakintzis said the CCTV system had lots of blind spots. He also found that the guards, who numbered 11 in total, had not received proper training or guidelines on how to react if robbers broke into the building. They were not supplied with walkie-talkies either, meaning that the only way they could communicate was via their personal mobile phones.

Robbers broke into the National Gallery on the night of January 8 and stole a painting by Pablo Picasso called “Woman’s Head,” a work of art by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian and a drawing by Italian artist Guglielmo Caccia.

Rakintzis said that only two guards were on duty at nights and if one was not able to attend due to illness or leave, only one person guarded the gallery. 

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