April 10, 2012 / 1:38 PM / 7 years ago

Greece offers "cop-for-hire" service to raise cash

Greek police officers stand by their motorcycles in Athens' Syntagma square April 10, 2012. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

ATHENS (Reuters) - In a bid to raise cash, Greek police are offering a 30 euro ($39) per hour “cop-for-hire” scheme for private companies or citizens seeking protection at special events.

Police said the service was provided only under special circumstances, such as cases of high-security risk, and that revenues would be used to fund police equipment and boost the state budget. It used to be available for free before a debt crisis hit the country.

“We will provide these services only in exceptional cases and only if we have the available assets and staff. We’ll first make sure that no citizen is deprived of police protection,” police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis said on Tuesday.

Hiring a police officer for an hour costs 30 euros, according to the law, which has entered into force. A police vehicle escort, for example for the transfer of art works or other sensitive material, will cost an additional 40 euros per hour and a motorcycle escort 20 euros.

For larger-scale operations, police patrol boats can be hired for 200 euros and helicopters for an hourly 1,500-euro fee.

Along with other public sector workers, Greece’s 55,000 police officers have suffered wage cuts and layoffs amid austerity measures imposed by international lenders in exchange for financial aid.

($1 = 0.7651 euros)

Reporting by Deborah Kyvrikosaios and Renee Maltezou; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo

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