[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF] on Thursday detailing [press release] a long-standing culture of impunity, racism and excessive force within the Greek police system. The report documents unlawful practices and human rights violations of the country’s law enforcement and cites as key issues the police’s lack of accountability and failure to conduct impartial investigations. The report also implied the police have tolerated, and even covered up, numerous crimes and attacks committed by the Golden Dawn [Guardian news archive], Greece’s far-right political party. The report urged for “the creation of a genuinely independent and effective police complaints mechanism,” as well as a “mechanism to investigate police abuses that has no structural or organizational connection with the police.” The advocacy group also listed numerous recommendations to provide safeguards within the police enforcement system and to measure and combat hate crimes.
This is not the first time Greece’s police force has been called into question. AI reported [JURIST report] in July 2012 that Greek police exhibit a pattern of using excessive force and violence against demonstrators and administrative detainees, including migrants. The report expressed concern about the ability of police to investigate legitimate claims of abuse by law enforcement in an impartial and effective manner. In March 2009, AI said that Greek authorities were not doing enough to ensure that the nation’s police respect human rights [JURIST report], and urged the government to investigate and address “long-standing problems of policing.” Earlier that month, the Greek government said that it would revamp its police force [JURIST report] in light of the riots. The Greek police have been accused of being both ineffective and unnecessarily violent [JURIST op-ed] in their response to the protests.