An internal police investigation into suspected connections between the Greek Police and the ultra-right Golden Dawn linked 10 officers to the party “directly or indirectly” but found no indications of “organized cells” within the force.
Unveiling the findings of the investigation on Wednesday, the head of the police’s internal affairs department, Panayiotis Stathis, told a press conference that no “organized cells or factions” linked to Golden Dawn were discovered during the monthlong probe but he conceded that “lax supervision” of officers was a problem that needed to be addressed.
Police questioned 319 officers at precincts across the country before arresting 15 on a range of charges, Stathis said. Of these officers, 10 were found to be connected “directly or indirectly” to Golden Dawn’s activities, he said. As part of the investigation, police also raided 79 homes and Golden Dawn offices, seizing weapons and military equipment.
Stathis also told reporters that the investigation had monitored a significant increase between 2009 and 2013 in the involvement of police officers in “extreme police behavior” – a trend which reached a peak last year. He said that another 118 officers were being investigated on a range of charges and that the files of many of them had been sent to prosecutors.
Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias described the probe as “an operation of self-catharsis.” “It was our duty not to allow any shadow to remain on the overwhelming majority of men and women of the Greek Police,” he said.
Golden Dawn and its MPs are currently the subject of a criminal investigation with three MPs in pretrial custody on charges of belonging to a criminal organization.