The Special Suppressive Counter-terrorism Unit (E.K.A.M.)
The Special Suppressive Counter-terrorism 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, piracies against transportation means, 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 radiological 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.
The activation of Ε.Κ.Α.Μ. and the intervention order lies exclusively with the Chief of the Hellenic Police.
The history of Special Units in the Police Force starts in 1978 with the establishment of Counter-terrorism Units in the two Police
Forces (Hellenic Gendarmerie and City Police), which were united in 1984 forming the Hellenic Police.
The first Units were the Unit of Special Missions (ΜΕΑ) of the City Police and the Department of Special Missions (ΤΕΙDΑ) of the Hellenic Gendarmerie. By merging the two Forces, the two Special Units have been united into a single body, which has received its present title.
All through those years, Ε.Κ.Α.Μ. has dealt with exceptionally diffίcult cases of hostage takings and has undertaken many arrests of dangerous criminals. It has participated decisively in the arrest and in the transfer of members of November 17 and ELA (Revolutionary People’s Struggle) as well as of other terrorist organizations, which have been broken up in the Country.
In March 2003, it successfully dealt with an incident aboard the air carrier Airbus Α-130, which had been hijacked, while flying from Istanbul to Ankara (flight ΤΚ. 160) and ended up at the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”.
In August 2005, it participated in the evacuation of the victims of the aircraft accident HELIOS in Grammatiko / Attica. Finally, it has a permanent presence for the protection of officials at high risk in all major events of the Country, such as the European Union Presidency, the Summit meetings, the global or international sport events, the visits of the Heads of States and other international Organizations.
The personnel consist of voluntary policemen, to be selected with especially strict criteria and after a three-month training program. The elite staff members include trained personnel fron all necessary specialties in order to be able to respond to exceptionally difficult situations or deal with armed criminals, i.e. assault groups, snipers, violation specialists (of doors, walls etc.) with mechanical, hydraulic and explosive means, parachutists, frogmen, climbers, rappelers, skiers, battle field male nurses.
Means and Material – Technical Equipment
The Unit possesses a variety of special transportation means as well as tools for the execution of its special missions, such as:
Vehicles (high speed Jeep, motorcycles, trucks, busses, motor ladders, etc.)
High speed inflatable vessels
Materials of several types for roping and rappelling
Fast rope collections for all helicopters
Special systems for doors’ violation (hydraulic systems, bugs, etc)
Standardized explosive filings
Endoscopes, Thermal imaging cameras
Infrared vision devices
Flash bang stun grenades
Chemical substances, smoke producing substances, etc.