Contrary to what happens in most places in Europe, the police
on this island is so discreet that... it seems to do nothing.
In the bigger towns policemen are generally occupied with administrative
tasks, while in the villages they sit at the kafenìa,
sipping their rakì and playing backgammon with the other
villagers. Crime rates in Crete are very low and most of the
time the presence of policemen around is a mere formality. In
the summer, of course, with so many tourists visiting the island,
there is bound to be some small episode, some drunkard making
a fuss over something, or some absent-minded or inexperienced
motorcyclist or jeep driver who rented a vehicle only to cause
an accident. However, such episodes are merely an exception
to the rule, an occasional disruption of the order that prevails.
The most likely encounter you’ll ever have with the
police is in a road block set up, where you will typically see
a police car at the side of the road, one or two police motorcycles,
and a cop signalling you to stop. Chances are that as soon at
they see you are a tourist they will let you go with no further
ado. If you are stopped for a minor violation (such as exceeding
the speed limit), they have to be polite, but if they yell at
you do not react immediately. After a minute or two they will...
feel better, and they will let you go without a ticket, having
accepted your sincere apology and the promise that you will
now go slower than a bus. The magic phrase that gets through
to them is èleos, dhen tha to xanakàno (have mercy,
I won’t do it again!)
Careful: never try to bribe a police officer. This method may
be effective in Turkey and the ex-communist countries of Eastern
Europe, but in Greece it simply won’t work. The Greek
policemen will feel deeply offended, and they will treat you
twice as hard as they normally would. Should a cop ask you for
money - a very unlikely thing but one that can’t be ruled
out - refuse politely and ask him for the ticket (dhòste
mou tin klìsi parakalò). Keep in mind that policemen
are not entitled to collect money on the spot; they are there
only to hand you the ticket.
|Source of the
information on this page : “Unexplored Crete”,
Road Editions. For more guidebooks and maps of
Greece, click here.