By Peter Stevenson
THE JUSTICE ministry is fully supporting police efforts to build a new force which will be dignified and professional the justice minister said on Monday.
“We want you to stand proudly in front of the public, because through your correct behaviour you have managed to enforce the law as it should be enforced,” Ionas
Nicolaou told officers during a visit to the Rapid Response Unit’s headquarters.
The minister said the police had nothing to fear from investigative committees or other authorities such as the ombudswoman if they enforced the law properly.
Members of the unit have been training on the best course of action to deal with violence during football matches and Nicolaou said that constant training is required to keep the unit ready for any incident.
The minister stated that he expected the same levels of professionalism shown by the rapid response unit to be shown by the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and stadium managers if the problem of violence at football matches is to be stamped out.
“We hope that legislation will be approved which will allow the chief of police to ban anyone from entering a stadium, whether they have been found guilty of committing a crime or not,” he said.
“As you are aware the greatest punishment for hooligans is to be banned from stadiums as they do not really care whether they go to jail.”
The minister also spoke of the problems which have been created by the police’s inability to hire new personnel after the bailout agreement.
“Four hundred and fifty positions need to be filled but due to the crisis we are having to look at replacing certain police officers who are involved in non-police tasks, especially those doing office jobs with other staff, from the wider public service,” he said.
Nicolaou said the procedure could strengthen the front line of officers as some would be able to leave their desk jobs.