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Greek police officers, vehicles for rent

Policemen attend a demonstration of Greek security forces against the new austerity measures in Athens on February 28, 2012. Now, a new plan in Greece means allows Greek citizens to rent out police officers and boats by the hour.

Protestors face the police during a demonstration involving thousands of civilians on February 10, 2012 in Athens, Greece.

David Brancaccio: Greece continues to grapple with budget cuts and  austerity in the face of massive government debt. Today, a strike stopped ferry services to Greek islands just as the country's tourism season started. Many Greek government agencies are looking for creative ways to alleviate the financial pain -- and now the country's police force is offering to rent out its officers and vehicles to the public.  

The BBC's Athens correspondent Mark Lowen has the story.


Mark Lowen: Forty dollars will get you your own police officer for an hour; $260 dollars -- a patrol boat. Greece's public debt is now over $450 billion. The country is suffering its worst recession in modern history. The new scheme could help the police force raise money and stop the taxpayer from footing the bill.

Christos Fotopoulos is president of Greece's Police Workers' Union, he says the move is a mixed blessing.

Christos Fotopoulos: I agree with this because it puts certain things in order but I also have my reservations: the powerful and wealthy could end up commanding Greece's police system.

The new service is offered by the Greek police force mainly for those needing extra security. But it can also be used by film companies or special training for security firms.

Besides renting a cop -- or a police boat -- if you're feeling flush, there's always a police helicopter available for an hourly rate of $2,000.

In Athens, I am the BBC's Mark Lowen for Marketplace

 

Protestors face the police during a demonstration involving thousands of civilians on February 10, 2012 in Athens, Greece.

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