Policing Overview

The Hellenic Police operates under the jurisdiction of the under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Citizen Protection. Greece is divided into two sectors of policing - Northern Greece and Southern Greece - with both consisting of several regions. Furthermore, the Greek Police force commands several special services divisions.

Border Security and Management Overview

The Greek borders are divided into three sectors (land, air and sea borders), according to the Schengen Acquis and the framework of the European Border and Coast-Guard Agency (Frontex). The land and air borders protection fall under the jurisdiction of the Hellenic Police, while the protection of sea borders fall under the jurisdiction of both the Hellenic Police and the Hellenic Coast-Guard.

Counter Terrorism Overview

The Hellenic Police operates a Special Suppressive Counter-terrorism Unit, which reports directly to the chief of the Hellenic police. It is supported by Greece's National Intelligence Service, which is subordinate to the Hellenic Parliament.

Cyber/ICT Security Overview

The National Authority Against Electronic Attacks (NAAEA) is responsible for co-ordinating the management and mitigation of cyber incidents, in particular, those targeting critical infrastructure, and for the establishment of additional measures pertaining to the safeguarding of the public sector and the Greek critical infrastructure against cyber-attacks.

Hellenic Police

Functions and missions

The Hellenic Police is comprised of both central and regional services. Its Headquarters is the supreme authority over these services within the framework of the Ministry of Citizen Protection's policy. For this reason it schedules, directs, oversees and monitors the activities of its services, ensuring the necessary conditions for the exercise of its authority. 

The Hellenic Police is a law enforcement agency with a mission to: 

  • ensure peace and order, as well as citizens' unhindered social development, including general policing duties and traffic safety;
  • prevent crime and protect the State and democratic governance within the framework of constitutional order, including the implementation of public and state security policy.

Structure and organisation

The National Chief of Police, who holds the rank of Lieutenant General, directs the service, reporting directly to the Minister of Citizen Protection. He is elected to serve for a two-year term and may be extended for one more year. The service's hierarchy includes the Deputy Chief of Police, Chief of Staff and General Inspector, with the latter also holding the rank of Lieutenant General. Furthermore, also with the rank of Lieutenant General, the Hellenic Police has recently appointed a General Inspector for Police, Aliens and Border Protection matters".

Apart from the above, in the Hellenic Police Headquarters, there is a specific Branch for Aliens and Border Protection, which is comprised by -3- Divisions, namely the Border Protection Division, the Migration Management Division and the Aliens Division, dealing with specific aspects of border and migration management (border management, cooperation with EU Agencies, repatriation/return, border crossing points, statistics, etc.).

Notable Special Service Divisions include inter alia:

  • the Special Violent Crime Division
  • the Forensic Science Division
  • the Division of International Police Co-operation
  • the Special Anti-terrorist Unit
  • the Department of Explosive Devices Disposal
  • the Hellenic Police Air Force Service
  • the Unit of Police Dogs
  • the Cyber Crime Division

Education / Training

The Police Academy is a self-contained, central service of the Hellenic Police Headquarters. Its objective is to provide training, re-training and education for its officers` corps. The Academy consists of the: 

  • Police Officers School, a university-level institution geared to train future police lieutenants (eight semesters);
  • Police Constable School that trains cadets to become capable officers and investigators (five semesters);
  • National Security School opened in 1997 with the goal of providing further education and training to top-ranked Hellenic Police executives in all matters related to  national security strategies and policies (six months);
  • School of Further Education & Training focuses on training, specializing and further educating the Hellenic Police staff (1-9 months, depending on the department).

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Border Police Units

General information

The Border Police Units (BPU) of the Hellenic Police operate under the supervision of the Headquarters and especially under the Aliens and Border Protection Branch. Currently, police officers with border-related duties serve at 29 Border Police Units across the Hellenic territory. The police officers have at their disposal a variety of technical means, in order to fulfil their mission, which is to prevent illegal migration and combat cross-border crime, at the external borders of Greece.

The Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG)  Force is currently under the authority of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy. It operates a total of 269 patrol boats and vessels and its own dedicated air fleet, composed of 6 fixed wing assets and 6 helicopters. BPU’s and HCG cooperate closely with the law enforcement agencies from other EU member states in the implementation of EU policies.

Functions and Missions

Border Guarding Services have been established in order to address the problem of illegal immigration and cross-border crimes. Border Guarding Services (Zone A) operate in the following prefectures: Thesprotia, Kastoria, Ioannina, Florina, Pella, Kilkis, Serres, Drama, Xanthi, Rhodopi and Corfu. In addition, Border Guarding Services operate in areas with a large number of illegal immigrants. In particular, they operate at the following prefectures: Preveza, Arta, Trikala, Grevena, Kozani, Imathia, Thessaloniki, Kavala, Halkidiki, Pieria, Larissa and Karditsa. Finally, three Illegal Immigration Departments have been established within the General Police Division.

The main activities of the Hellenic Coast Guard are defined in the present legislation and specified within its institutional framework of operation. These activities are the following:

  • Law enforcement at sea, ports and coastal areas. Prevention of illegal immigration. Surveillance of the sea, shipping, ports and borders.
  • Search and rescue at sea (jointly with the Hellenic Air Force, which is responsible for search and rescue by air).
  • Safety of navigation (with the exception of lighthouses, RACONs and buoys, which are constructed, purchased, installed and maintained by the Hellenic Navy Lighthouse Service).
  • Protection of the marine environment and response to marine pollution incidents.
  • Provision of emergency maritime radio communication services.
  • Port operations (excluding port pilots service).
  • Representation of Greece in international organisations and the European Commission in matters related to these roles.

Structure and organisation

The Hellenic Coast Guard Force is currently under the authority of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy. The Hellenic Coast Guard Force is headed by the Senior Coast Guard Officer who has the rank of Vice Admiral (Antinavarchos).

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Special Anti-Terrorist Unit

Functions and missions

The Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (Ε.Κ.Α.Μ.) constitutes the elite Special Unit of the Hellenic Police, with the mission to effectively respond to serious and exceptionally dangerous situations (such as terrorist actions, piracy, hostage taking, arrests of dangerous criminals, subdue barricaded individuals, high-risk VIP's escort etc.) as well as to intervene in dangerous regions, which have intentionally been polluted by chemical or biological agents or have been contaminated by radioactive or nuclear substances.

Ε.Κ.Α.Μ. in the broader context of its mission supports and participates upon request in search and rescue operations at inaccessible or dangerous regions, as well as in the evacuation of victims in major natural or technological disasters or major accidents.

The Unit carries out operations all over the Hellenic territory and abroad, in accordance with the respective institutional framework, in order to support police operations for intervention or aid rendering in major disasters.

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National Authority Against Electronic Attacks (NAAEA)

The mission of the National Authority Against Electronic Attacks is to attend to the prevention as well as the passive and active encounter of electronic attacks against communication networks, data storage facilities and IT systems. In addition, the Authority is responsible for processing the data and notifying the competent authorities. NAAEA serves as national CERT, collecting evidence on cyber-attacks, analyzing cyber incidents, providing information and consultations, as well as co-ordinating incident response actions between involved parties.

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