Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis veered off what was expected to be a mostly celebratory address to inaugurate his ruling party’s 15th congress on Friday evening, referring directly to the murder of a young woman earlier this week only meters outside a police precinct.

Twenty-eight-year-old Kyriaki Griva was fatally stabbed by her ex-boyfriend turned stalker on Monday night after first having requested police protection against her former companion – protection that never materialized. The woman’s murder shocked public opinion in the east Mediterranean country and rekindled serious debate over a perceived surge in domestic violence.

“When a young woman is murdered outside a police station we bow our heads and say we have to do more. Incidents like this smear what we’ve achieved. Yes, police cars should become taxis to protect the citizen, just as they become ambulances to carry a pregnant woman, and fire engines, when they evacuate people from a fire,” he underlined, referring to an obtuse and widely vilified response by a police dispatcher to the victim, seconds before she was stabbed in the back multiple times.

According to released audio tapes in the wake of the murder, the emergency line (100) dispatcher told the woman that “police cars aren’t taxis”.

Police have our support if they’re forced to use their weapon legally

“Law enforcement must intervene immediately when a crime is being committed in front of them, however, they also have our support if they’re forced to use their weapon legally…” Mitsotakis said from the neo-classical Zappeion Hall in central Athens, adjacent to Parliament.

The latter reference came after press reports this week cited a court verdict – last month – handing down a seven-and-a-half year jail sentence against a police officer who fatally shot a fleeing suspect in 2019. The latter was taking part in a stranger-on-stranger abduction.

The police officer, a 13-year veteran who was off duty at the time of the incident, was driving back to his northern Athens residence with his young son in his car when he saw kidnappers grabbing an elderly neighbor in order to rob her.

The police officer followed the suspects’ vehicle while at the same time notifying authorities. He shot the suspect during an altercation.

The shooting victim in that case was later identified as a convicted felon.

The police officer’s attorneys expressed confidence that the conviction will be fully overturned during appeal. He remains free pending appeal.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of this week’s shocking homicide four desk duty police officers and a police sentry were demoted and transferred from the Aghii Anargyri police station in northwest Athens, where Kyriaki Griva failed to receive help against the 39-year-old stalker.

Another unfathomable fact that emerged from the deadly incident is that the police sentry on duty outside the station has been convicted of offenses related to a ring supplying forged documents to irregular migrants, and according to media reports has even served jail time.

Asked about this information, a police spokeswoman on Friday merely noted that a disciplinary procedure against the convicted – but still serving – police sentry has not been concluded.