Dozens of citizens got praise from authorities during a police award ceremony on Wednesday in recognition of their role in combating crime.
According to police, 55 citizens received recognition for their helpful actions in assisting police with the arrest of criminals, providing humanitarian aid, extinguishing fires, solving serious crimes, and rescuing individuals in danger.
Police Chief Kypros Michaelides, who spoke at the event at the Journalist’s House in Nicosia, praised citizens for their outstanding work and cooperation with law enforcement.
“The role of citizens in the multifaceted and multipurpose work of the police is an essential prerequisite in the fight we put up to combat crime and promote conditions that maintain safety and security in our country,” Michaelides said.
“Policing is facing larger and more complex challenges compared to older times,” he added.
Serial killer case
The help of citizens has been highlighted in the media multiple times recently, including cases where information led to important clues in serious cases such as the finding of a body in an old abandoned mineshaft in rural Nicosia. Hundreds of tips and important clues from friends of slain victims helped crack the case wide open.
Known as the first serial killer case in Cyprus, the accidental discovery of the body by a group of biker enthusiasts led to a two-month investigation where a total of seven foreign females were found to have been murdered by a serial killer two to three years earlier. Nicos “Orestis” Metaxas, who has been convicted in the murders, has been sentenced to seven life sentences.
Another case involved the kidnapping of two school boys last year, where a male suspect walked into a school yard in Larnaca and coaxed two 11-year-olds to follow him to his apartment, just around the corner.
A full-fledge operation in search of the two boys ensued with the entire country going on alert for hours, until later in the evening a neighbour notified authorities after he suspected that Yiorgos “George” Nicolaou was behind the crime. Nicolaou was sentenced in March to 16 years behind bars.
Citizens in action
In other cases, concerned citizens helped arrest individuals who were suspected of commiting a crime in real-time, such as a case in Larnaca where a male suspect armed with a knife and with his face covered went to rob a convenience store in Meneou.
Other cases included tips and information provided by concerned citizens, which ultimately led to addressing traffic offences, preventing fires, bringing to light socially-sensitive cases, and promoting road safety in general. A security guard was also recognised for his efforts in trying to stop a robbery in Limassol.