The new police chief has offered an apology following criticism about mishandling cases of missing foreign women and children who ended up being murdered by a serial killer.
During a swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace, President Nicos Anastasiades used his executive power on Tuesday to name a new police chief, Kypros Michaelides, after weeks of harsh criticism in the wake of the serial killer case.
Michaelides takes over after the dismissal of his former boss, Zacharias Chrysostomou, who was fired by the president last week. Anastasiades told a small audience that included outgoing Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou, who also tendered his resignation last week, that he was unhappy with having to make that decision.
'I want to offer an apology because we did not manage to protect these innocent and defenceless souls who met their demise in a tragic and gruesome way'
“Unfortunately due to negligence by certain members of the force regarding cases of missing persons, police lost respect forcing me to take the unpleasant decision to dismiss the Chief of Police,” the president said.
Michaelides said that one of his main priorities would be combating organised crime, while he also addressed the serial killer case by offering apologies to the families of the victims.
“On behalf of the Police Department, I wish to express our sorrow and disgust as well as our most sincere condolences to the families of the victims,” Michaelides said.
“I want to offer an apology because we did not manage to protect these innocent and defenceless souls who met their demise in a tragic and gruesome way,” the new police chief added.
Michaelides joined the police force in 1977 and has served in several senior posts, gaining invaluable knowledge of the goings-on according to media sources. He also studied police administration at the master’s level and attended a training course at the BFI Academy in the United States.
Authorities were heavily criticised in the wake of gruesome discoveries last month, after bodies of foreign women revealed a failure on part of the police to properly handle missing complaints.
President Anastasiades has vowed to introduce a committee that would formulate new guidelines and monitor how police handle complaints regarding foreign nationals, especially female domestic workers.
Foreign media also covered the murders in Cyprus, focusing on what they described as “modern slavery” conditions for domestic workers who often feel scared to seek justice.
A number of investigations are ongoing in order to pin point flaws and offences possibly committed by police officers in the initial stages of the case, including the way missing reports of foreign women and children were handled by local cops.