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Investigation finds no active Golden Dawn cells in police ranks

Ten officers found to have some links with illegal activity of neonazi party

Out of the 15 officers arrested for various offences during the probe, 10 were linked directly or indirectly with illegal activity carried out by the party, among them six former members of police-assigned security detail for Golden Dawn MPs

A month-long investigation into police links with Golden Dawn has found only limited links with the neonazi organisation, police claimed on Wednesday.

The investigation, ordered as part of the government's crackdown on the neonazi party following the murder by a party supporter of hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas in September, involved searches at more than 100 police stations and departments with 319 officers questioned, the police’s internal affairs bureau said.

Out of the 15 officers arrested for various offences during the probe, 10 were linked directly or indirectly with illegal activity carried out by the party. Six were former members of police-assigned security detail of Golden Dawn MPs, one was the head of the security or detective unit at Agios Panteleimonas station, one an officer from Karditsa and two officers from Thessaloniki.

But "there was no evidence of 'cells' or 'factions' of para-constitutional forces in the Greek police," Panagiotis Stathis, the head of the internal affairs department, said.

Reported incidents of extreme police violence Reported incidents of extreme police violence Nor was there evidence to show that police "were directly involved in the activities of a criminal organisation, but they did show criminal behaviour with their actions or omissions – an abuse of their authority,” he added.

It did however find a sharp rise in cases of alleged excessive use of force by police officers, with most in the incidents reported in greater Athens, in high-crime areas including Omonia and Agios Panteleimonas.

He said the allegations of extreme violence carried out by police had increased rapidly since 2009.

Of the 142 cases of extreme police violence reported, the investigation found that 83% occurred in Attica. Most involved officers from the Dias and Delta motorcyle units.

The data showed that most of the reported cases of police violence occurred in areas known to have a strong Golden Dawn presence. The fact that police violence peaked in 2012, the same year that Golden Dawn entered parliament, has been seen by some observers that the police involved believed they had a green light to act.

Stathis did find that there was a misguided sense of "solidarity" among some police officers and a tendency not to speak out against others, while superior officers seem to have "little visability" to what is happening in the force.

In 58% of the 142 reported cases of extreme police violence, subsequent investigations found 118 police at fault and a further 85 colleagues involved. The majority of cases have reached the prosecuting authorities, while investigations are continuing into the others, including in 11 cases where the specific police offenders have not been identified.

As part of the investigation, 79 searches took place in homes, vehicles, boats or offices, during which a large number of weapons and ammunition were found.

In nine cases, the internal division found paramilitary uniforms or literature pertaining to Golden Dawn or Nazism.

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