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15 June, 2024
 
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High-ranking officer's connection to organized crime exposed

Police investigator's startling crime association

Newsroom / CNA

Nikos Loizidis, the president of the Police Force branch of the Equality Guild, has raised serious concerns about a member of the authority responsible for investigating complaints and allegations against the police. Loizidis made these accusations during discussions at the Parliamentary Committee on institutions, which were centered on the recommendations of the Council of Europe Committee on the fight against corruption (GRECO).

Loizidis asserted that a person within the authority, who holds the power to make decisions on criminal or disciplinary recommendations to the Chief of Police, has a close first-degree relationship with an individual involved in organized crime with a history of convictions and arrests related to drug cases.

Members of the Institutions Committee expressed their intent to report this matter to the Anti-Corruption Authority. Loizidis did not mince words, stating that those responsible should feel shame for their inaction and called for the resignation of the president of the Republic, suggesting that others take their place. He pointed out that they have not acted on this matter while pursuing officers and police who have previously confronted this close family connection.

Loizidis also addressed the broader issue, speaking of the perceived "castration of frontline police officers." In response to GRECO's recommendations, he stressed the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the police force, advocating for state support to enable them to carry out their duties effectively.

Kyriakos Charalambous, the president of the Cyprus Police Association, emphasized the importance of criminalizing false complaints against police officers in AADIPA. He argued that those who file false or imaginary complaints should face consequences, highlighting the vulnerability of police officers and the need for a fair appointment and dismissal process for the Chief and Deputy Chief of police to ensure unhindered performance.

Challenging Recommendation for Chief and Deputy Chief Appointments

Discussing the GRECO recommendations, Alexia Good Evening, the head of the Cypriot delegation in GRECO, acknowledged that implementing the recommendation regarding the appointment and dismissal of the Chief and Deputy Chief of police is challenging but feasible. This recommendation addresses the need for formal, objective, competitive, and transparent criteria and procedures for their selection, within the parameters of the Constitution.

Mrs. Good Evening acknowledged that nine GRECO recommendations for the police are attainable, with the most formidable challenge being the recommendation concerning these top appointments due to their constitutional significance. She believed that the executive branch could work within constitutional bounds to implement this recommendation.

Assistant Chief of Command Christoforos Mavrommatis represented the police in the committee and expressed their commitment to improving the force. He highlighted the progress made in addressing corruption and outlined measures taken, including the separation of different offenses and the establishment of a committee to address disciplinary cases.

Mavrommatis also mentioned ongoing efforts to strengthen educational programs, create objective criteria for appointments and promotions, and reform the process of promotions. He stressed that transfers are solely under the jurisdiction of the Chief of Police, based on operational needs.

Konstantinos Konstantinidis, representing the Minister of Justice, indicated that the minister could not attend the committee due to an overseas service trip. He stated that GRECO's recommendations concerning the police would be monitored by a commission appointed by the police chief in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice.

MP Rita Theodorou-Superman, speaking on behalf of DISY, called for a comprehensive overhaul of the police system, addressing issues related to prevention, recruitment, evaluations, promotions, transfers, and training. She emphasized the need to rebuild public trust and ensure equal opportunities for all members of the police force.

Akel MP Irene Charalambidou voiced concerns about operational problems within the police and called for differentiated solutions. Diko MP Pavlos Mylonas expressed dismay at the decreased visibility of police officers on the streets, particularly in matters of traffic regulation and organized crime. He criticized the lack of political will in addressing these issues.

Limassol MP Andreas Themistokleous pointed out corruption and abuse of power within the police force and stressed the importance of the Minister of Justice and the Chief of Police's presence in committee sessions. Nicosia MP Alexandra Attalidou criticized the police for their inability to protect peaceful protesters and address citizens' requests for law enforcement in cases of mobbing. She also called for an independent internal investigation into the police's handling of the Metaxas case, involving the murders of women and the infiltration of the underworld into poaching.

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